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Legal Professionals Are Twice as Likely to Work on Days Off, as 1 in 5 Say Work Is Causing Mental Health Decline

A new study finds 1 in 3 legal employees want their company to be more proactive in boosting health and wellbeing habits.

New data has revealed legal professionals are the most likely to work on days off compared to employees in other sectors, with more than a third (37%) having done so in the last year.

Increasing pressures such as the cost of living crisis, combined with gaps in employer support, are causing an increase in mental and physical health issues for legal employees. A third have experienced increased anxiety over the last year, with 33% citing excessive stress.

The data also finds a 76% increase in the past year in employees working through poor mental health rather than taking sick leave compared to physical illness.

The UK-wide Health, wellbeing & habits study asked over 1,000 employees for insights into their health status over the last year. The aim was to discover how changing working patterns are affecting employees’ health and wellbeing, and how UK companies can better support their workforce in this area.

The study also found that 40% of legal employees are experiencing significant physical health issues such as back, shoulder and neck pain. This can be attributed to excessive sitting and screen time -a third of legal professionals sit at a screen for over 8 hours per day.

What can law companies and firms do?

A staggering 90% of legal professionals want their company to be more proactive in boosting employee health, wellbeing and healthy habits.

  • 40% of employees think training managers to provide better support is the answer

  • 30% of workers believe in promoting the use of sick leave when people are struggling with physical or mental health

  • 37% of employees want measures in place to prevent employees sitting for long periods of time

Legal companies also benefit when contributing to their employees’ health and wellbeing: it leaves 37% feeling more productive at work and 27% more engaged in their role. A third say they’re less likely to seek job opportunities elsewhere (31%).

Richard Holmes, director of wellbeing at Westfield Health, says:

“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

Claire Brown, qualified life and career coach, adds:

“Employees must be encouraged to prioritise their health and wellbeing above productivity by taking regular breaks from the screen and getting fresh air, where possible. Providing alternative and innovative ways for connection and communication between team members is also really valuable.

“By adopting a flexible attitude and approach to how and when work is completed, companies can alleviate some of the pressure. As always, communication is key. It’s important for employers to be fair and realistic about what is possible and provide practical support to help team members manage their workloads.”

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