10th October 2019

Simple steps to encourage a healthy work-life balance for your employees

Striking the right work-life balance at your practice is a tricky feat, especially in an industry that’s frequently known for long hours and stressful situations. As an employer, responsibility falls on you to look after your staff’s mental health and set a precedent for workplace culture in your office.

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Today is World Mental Health Day and is the perfect time to consider how you can improve the mental health at your firm. While you’re not realistically going to be able to prevent all of the stressful aspects of being a lawyer, there are many ways you can give your employees a better work-life balance.

The benefits of offering a healthy work-life balance don’t just extend to your employees – improving the wellbeing of staff makes good business sense as well.

Research has shown happiness in employees increases productivity by 12 percent, making investment in mental health an important consideration.

Happy employees are also more likely to seek out and stay with companies who offer them enticing benefits.

So, how can you encourage a healthy work-life balance for employees? Consider what you can do both in the office and out of the office.

On the clock tips

1)  Hold daily ‘stand-ups’ each morning. These are brief 10-minute meetings where each staff member discusses what their workload is for the day. It’s a great way to identify if someone is overloaded with tasks, and an ideal opportunity to find out if another staff member has time to help them.

2)  Encourage staff to take short breaks throughout the day. It’s easy to get fatigued during long work hours, and this can impact mental health as well as quality of work.

3)  Offer flexible working hours. All employees have varying personal commitments, such as appointments or school drop-offs and pick-ups – so aim to be accommodating to these needs.

4)  Support employee training and education. This doesn’t have to be professional development activities – team activities such as a lunch and learn with an industry leader can grow better relationships between employees and offer a fun change of pace from everyday work.

5)  Implement an ‘open-door’ policy. Employees shouldn’t be sweating if they need to talk to the boss. Make sure they know your door is always open to chat about anything (and make sure your staff know you mean it!).

Off the clock tips

1)  Host regular out of office activities. Fund an after-hours activity that all staff can participate in, such as a trivia team.

2)  Promote physical activity. Consider offering a gym membership to staff or introducing lunch time challenges. Better physical health equals better mental health.

3)  Let your employees go on vacation. Make employees feel comfortable taking time off and not feel guilty for taking planned leave.

4)  Leave work at work. Avoid out of hours emails to employees and respect their time off.

5)  Allow remote working. Working from the beach or even home can have a huge impact on mental health, and good employees will get the work done no matter where they are sitting with their laptop.

If you’re looking to do more, ask your employees what would best support their mental health and work-life balance. It can go a long way for both individuals and your practice.

The information in this publication is intended for general and/ or product information purposes only. It does not serve as specific advice to any particular person or organisation and should not be relied upon as such. Any information contained is general in nature and does not take into account any person's or organisation’s situation, circumstances or individual needs. Before acting on anything held within you should consider professional advice and the information’s appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.

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