One of the best things you can do for your employees, your clients and yourself is to promote wellness at your firm.
This starts by prioritizing full-spectrum health – mental, physical, spiritual and emotional – and implementing programs to support well-being in the office. It’s also essential that you set a good example.
“The legal profession is at a tipping point,” says the ABA Report on Lawyer Well-Being. “Too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance use. The parade of difficulties includes suicide, social alienation, work addiction, sleep deprivation, job dissatisfaction, a diversity crisis, complaints of work-life conflict, incivility, a narrowing of values so that profit predominates, and negative public perception. The current state of lawyers’ health cannot support a profession dedicated to client service and dependent on the public trust.”
In its report, the ABA sounds a “clarion call” to lawyers, firms and bar groups to meet these challenges.
What can your office – which may already find itself stretched for time and money – do? Following are some easy, low-cost (or no-cost!) suggestions.
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“Good health is good business—and that includes mental health,” says Charles Ingoglia, president and CEO for the National Council.
Here are 5 ways to create a healthier – and more profitable – law office, with a hat tip to Just Works.
- Promote exercise. Research shows that regular exercise boosts work productivity by 15 percent. It sharpens focus, increases energy and decreases stress. Talk about this in your office. Bring in a personal trainer, yoga instructor or tai chi master for a wellness hour once a month. Offer incentives to employees for walking or cycling to work, or for using the stairs instead of the elevator. Track progress and make it a fun competition with prizes for the “winners.” Sponsor a 5K fun run and invite clients and friends to participate.
- Encourage healthy dietary habits. Stock the breakroom with fruits, nuts and fresh juice. Bring in a dietician for a special presentation. Ask employees to share healthy recipes. Even better, fire up the stove and offer a tasty demonstration.
- Add some zen to the office. Encourage everyone to take short breaks to clear their minds and recharge their batteries. Open windows to let in fresh air. Set up a meditation room or quiet space.
- Create a positive work environment. Be generous with praise and compliments. Recognize outstanding efforts. Make everyone feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. According to this Gallup survey, employees who don’t feel actively engaged take twice as many sick days as employees who feel like they’re part of a team.
- Promote health insurance literacy. Medical costs are expected to rise six percent in 2020. Whether you provide group health insurance or not, you can promote well-being in your office by helping your employees understand their coverage and get the benefits they need. Schedule a staff meeting to discuss Health Insurance 101. Talk about deductibles, premiums and co-payments.
What are some ways you encourage well-being in your firm?
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