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Lawyers: Be More Compassionate to Employees to Boost Morale

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD | Last updated on

Everyone has a theory about how to boost employee productivity and morale in the office. Some firms try to do it with perks and money, and others with making small changes around the office. It's important to gauge how employees experience the workplace, but one study has found that one thing employers have been taken for granted: the power of compassion.

'Culture of Compassion'

A recent study conducted by Wharton Professor Sigal Barsade and George Mason University Professor Olivia O'Neil shows the benefits of "companionate love" in the office, reports Inc. And no, there is nothing inappropriate about companionate love. It's merely the act of showing compassion, and showing your employees that you care; the authors explain that coworkers "are careful of each others' feelings. They show compassion when things don't go well."

How Compassion Benefits Your Firm

Workplaces that foster a culture of compassion show that it "is vital to employee morale, teamwork and customer satisfaction." The study showed a correlation between companionate love and productivity; workplaces "with higher levels of companionate love had lower levels of absenteeism and employee burnout."

Facilitating a Firm 'Culture of Compassion'

There are simple ways you can add compassion to a law firm setting. Here are a few ideas:

  • Wish employees a happy birthday;
  • Ask how employees are doing, in and outside of work;
  • Grab a cup of coffee or tea for a coworker when you get one for yourself; or
  • Listen to an employee who needs to talk.

Look, we know that lawyers have a bad rep for having an awful work/life balance, and being compared to vicious not-so-compassionate sea creatures. But we also know that you're all softies on the inside. If you're still not sold on bringing some compassion into the office, here's one more reason: It's free.

How do you plan to bring more compassion into the firm? Let us know @FindLawLP on Twitter.

Editor's note, April 5, 2015: This post was first published in April, 2014. It has since been updated.

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