The impact of hybrid working isn’t entirely positive in legal services firms — here’s why
Last month, we conducted a survey of legal professionals to understand their experience of working life before and after the pandemic, and the impact on their mental health, wellbeing, and day-to-day processes and practices.
Predictably – thanks to reduced commuting times, as opposed to more time in bed, available to complete daily tasks or simply to relax or be more social – the majority of legal professionals (61% ) said their work-life balance is now better than before the pandemic. This, however, was not true for all.
15% of respondents said their work-life balance is now worse than before and more than a third of legal professionals have actually considered quitting their job due to poor mental health during this period.
At a time when work habits vary, this conflict of opinions must be resolved by employers to understand the contributors to these views and improve work standards and processes that will help overcome them.
Mental Health in the Legal Services Industry
When asked about the influence that workplace challenges have had on legal professionals over the past two years, the figures obtained raise concerns about the decline in the performance of professionals and, more importantly, the decline in their mental well-being. This despite the fact that most say their work-life balance is now better.
Of our respondents, 69% said changes in work procedures caused them trouble sleeping; 56% said it caused them to make mistakes; and 49% said it made them aggressive, snappy or impatient. These statistics all contribute to difficulties in and out of working life and show increased stress and reduced performance in an already demanding industry. It’s no surprise, then, that a whopping 44% said the pandemic and resulting work processes had a negative impact on their mental health.
However, with 69% of legal professionals now opting for a hybrid work breakdown and 17% working entirely from home, how can employers overcome the inconvenience associated with working from home and ensure the positive mental well-being of their employees? ?
Advance work processes
Over the past decades, companies have thoroughly analyzed their processes to find more efficient ways of working, to the benefit of customers, employees and businesses as a whole. But while we were able to dive deep into the realms of digital desktops, cybersecurity safeguards, and cloud computing, there is something to be said for the disregard for the actual tasks at hand and the expectations. with our workforce.
When asked about the top challenge facing employment law professionals, 51% of survey respondents chose workload. This, juxtaposed with the 37% who have considered changing jobs due to poor mental well-being at work since the start of the pandemic, could indicate an increase in workload expectations, or if not, insufficient processes in place to support remote working – making it difficult for employees to complete the work at hand within the scheduled time. Whatever the answer, legal departments must look to their workforce and make the necessary adjustments or risk losing valuable colleagues.
Digging deeper into legal professionals’ perception of current work processes, 38% of our respondents actually named inefficient work practices as their number one barrier to work, followed by 31% who blamed insufficient software tools. It’s clear that legal services firms as a whole aren’t doing enough and need to work on improving their digital tools to enable employees to work more efficiently wherever they are, to overcome this sense of burdensome expectations of high workload and reduce employee stress.
Finally, when asked about their processes and responsibilities, half (49%) said internal emails were the most time-consuming, followed by manual data entry at 43% and pursuing inquiries at 35%. %. Other important tasks include organizing documents, communicating with customers, and administrative tasks. Yet, in a world driven by digital processes such as email automation, there must be better ways to get these tasks done faster and allow people working in legal departments to focus on the value-added parts of their job – customer support.
Improving work processes to improve mental well-being
Legal services firms face a number of commonalities when it comes to day-to-day tasks. Take the certification industry – manual tasks such as repetitive data entry into IHT forms can be monotonous, error-prone and cause undue stress on both the employee performing the task and the end customer who wants the process takes place as quickly and as quickly as possible.
Another difficulty, in the era of working from home, is the pressure to take on more work with clients due to reduced travel times for face-to-face meetings with clients. However, with each additional client comes additional administrative work like data entry and pursuing claims.
With the right systems and processes in place, legal services firms can now overcome these challenges to support the 51% who identified workload as their top challenge. It is now imperative that employers take the time to listen to their employees about their challenges to ensure that their processes and practices are appropriately designed to support them.
Accelerate Legal Services with Exizent Technology
Exizent technology was developed to help streamline slow and inefficient processes in legal departments, such as manual and repetitive data entry and identity verification to support lawyers in their workload and accelerate growth. By connecting data and services used by legal services firms, banks and financial institutions, we help improve the grieving process for all parties involved by reducing workload stress, removing tasks unnecessary paperwork and giving lawyers the peace of mind and time to get back to focusing on what really matters most: their clients.
Find out how our technology can support your company’s hybrid work processes.