The Bellwether Report - COVID-19 : The next chapter

As homeworking continues, cracks are appearing as staff report that the novelty is wearing off. Almost 50% report their morale and wellbeing is worse than before the start of the pandemic. Isolation and motivation are now cited as the biggest home working issues, with stress levels increasing significantly as well. Read our findings.

Read the report

The warning signs of the pandemic affecting people’s mental health have started to appear. Many people believe mental health, stress and resilience support is a nice to have rather than a must have. Your staff need to be healthy strong and safe to prepare for an optimistic year ahead. Remember- happy staff leads to more happy clients!

Founder and Managing Director at Marketing Lawyers, Ben Trott, gives his top tips on how law firms can help manage and reduce stress.

Encourage regular breaks

The home office environment is vitally important. Facilitate a dedicated desk space where there is natural sunlight and no distractions. Staff should be encouraged to take a screen break every hour and regularly go for a walk outside wherever possible.

Give additional support

It's important to regularly ask your staff how they’re feeling and create an environment where they feel comfortable in being open and honest. Staff may need additional mental health support during troubling periods particularly if they already have mental health problems.

Understand individual needs

You should be understanding towards the concerns and needs of your staff while they work in new and unexpected ways. For example being flexible with those managing childcare while working and allowing time off to look after somebody else.

Don't be a stranger

You should be accessible, personable and encourage staff to talk to you if they’re having any problems. Regularly keep in contact with your team to check how they’re coping with the extra pressures and new ways of working. For furloughed staff, you should ask them if they would like to keep in touch while they’re on furlough.

Show appreciation

Reward good team players taking on added responsibility. Notice when staff are putting in long hours or exceeding their targets. Flags should be raised then to check if they are burning out and to thank them for the work. Ask if they need more support.

Listen to feedback

Provide an anonymous feedback system and regularly do staff feedback reviews to get real data as to how staff are feeling. Implement any changes on reading the results and see how you can improve your culture.

Make work fun

Start a weekly/monthly Zoom social event with all staff to help with team bonding and connections. Offer non-financial perks and buy tickets to online events which are of interest to staff either as perks or as part of their role.

Invest in new technology

Refine processes and workflows so it’s easier to complete simple tasks from home and enable the tracking of administrative time to see if there are ways of reducing that burden. Enable continued flexibility via remote working, cloud-based systems and laptops.

The Bellwether Report 2019: Stress in the Legal Profession — Problematic or Inevitable?

Despite numerous challenges, the majority of independent law firms are satisfied with their jobs and confident about their futures. However, the stress is a prevalent concern.

While many simply consider stress to be an inevitable part of their job, more than three-quarters of solicitors believe that stress and mental wellbeing are significant issues for the industry.

Read the report

How has COVID-19 impacted the business of law?

The impact of COVID-19 on the confidence levels of law firms has been minimal. 8 out of 10 firms stated that they were either 'very' or 'quite' confident in their business outlook, which is slightly higher than at the outset of the first lockdown. However, confidence has taken a knock compared to 2019 when 91% of firms were confident in their outlook.

Read more

Mental health of lawyers and COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a serious impact upon the morale and well-being of lawyers, which has got worse as the pandemic has dragged on. Around three quarters of law firm staff who switched to homeworking are experiencing feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and issues around communication.

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Policy and procedure—stress and mental health

LexisNexis helps reduce the burden on legal teams. Our un-rivalled precedents are written and reviewed by panels of leading legal experts . This employment precedent provides comprehensive and up-to-date legal information covering the policy and procedures of stress and mental health.

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Contact our dedicated team to find out how your firm can manage change with LexisNexis

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