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An energized, self-motivated workforce is a dream for any business. Happy employees are more productive employees, and if law firms want their attorneys to be more productive, they might want to fight the lawyer loneliness problem.
While it may not come as a surprise that lawyers rank among the loneliest of American workers, it is certainly shocking to hear loneliness be described as being as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Law firms, as the largest employer of lawyers, are uniquely positioned to help the profession be less lonely. Below, you'll find a couple tips to help make any law firm a little less lonely.
Loneliness is primarily a private, individual issue. As discussed in the Harvard Business Review, an employee's private life, such as their family, friends, and outside of work activities, are things that affect loneliness the most. Unfortunately, for attorneys, one of the biggest hurdles we have to deal with is balancing the long hours with day to day life, and unfortunately, due to the demands, the long hours often destroy the day to day.
If your firm is reasonable with the workload and flexible as to when and where some work gets done, particularly given much of it only requires a laptop, it's more likely that your attorneys will be able to manage a thriving and fulfilling private social life. And yes, you want that because it leads to higher productivity, better quality work, and a higher retention rate.
If even your office breakroom is a den of solitude for the team, you may want to actually try to put together some sort of social activity. For instance, encourage people to leave the work at their desk, or in the office, and have an optional weekly/monthly lunch on or off site. If you don't expect people to be very social, it may not be the worst idea to have some sort of ice breaker activity to get things going. There are countless ways to bring a team, large or small, together, and while a lonely lawyer might resist, providing the opportunity is all you can really do.
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