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The Friday Five

Get Well at Work: 5 Workplace Wellness Trends

By Jamie Spannhake

Workplace wellness and attorney well-being are not new concepts. But each year we need to refocus to stay on the right path to being healthy.

workplace wellness trends

Workplace wellness and attorney well-being are not new concepts. But each year we need to refocus our attention to ensure we are on the right path to being healthy. Without our health, we have little else — no work, no time with family, no long-term future.

As we head into spring, it’s an excellent time to think seriously about wellness and, in particular, wellness programs in our firms and companies. There are four pillars of employee well-being: physical, social, emotional and financial. When we are healthy in all four areas, we are productive, more balanced and happier. We are better lawyers and better people.

Whether you are a leader who has the power to implement a program or an employee or team member who can advocate for well-being initiatives, here are five workplace wellness trends to consider putting into practice.

1. Create time for social walking, running or other exercise breaks.

One way to ensure employees move enough to be healthy is to start an in-office walking club or an on-site yoga class. When exercise is incorporated into our daily routine and is easy to access on-site, it’s easier to stick with it. Even if everyone can’t meet at the same time, a group that reports their steps or run times daily or weekly, and even receives rewards for their efforts, can create both physical and social health. Get creative and work with employees and colleagues to find an activity that many people enjoy, set a schedule, and go!

(Also read “5 Ways to Find the Motivation to Exercise When You Don’t Want To.”)

2. Create time to connect socially.

An important part of health is feeling socially connected. A workplace can create both internal and external opportunities for social support. A simple external opportunity is offering paid personal days that employees can take for any, or no, reason — and encouraging them to take that time off.

Internally, social meetings and gatherings are simple ways to help colleagues connect. While an after-hours cocktail party is a traditional idea, a simple morning coffee gathering, a half-hour breakfast buffet or an in-house catered lunch will also get people together in one place, so they have an opportunity to connect.

3. Provide mental and emotional support tools.

When we work in stressful environments (and most lawyers do) knowing that we have the mental and emotional supports we need can help us handle stressors more gracefully.

A workplace should have an employee assistance program of some kind that provides resources and connections to mental health professionals. In addition, it’s important to give managers training on ways to identify when a person may be struggling with mental health issues, and how to guide the person toward help. The American Bar Association maintains its state-by-state Directory of Lawyer Assistance Programs here. There are also various mental health apps available that can be used to connect to external resources, as well as meditation and other stress-reduction apps employees can directly put to use.

(Also read “The Importance of a Wellness Retreat for Lawyers.”)

4. Provide useful financial guidance.

One of the most common stressors in American life is personal finances, whether it’s not having enough money or not knowing how to handle increased wealth. Financial wellness programs can help employees feel grounded and more secure. An effective financial wellness program for the people in your firm can include workshops, special offers, dedicated partnerships, perks and benefits.

5. Allow for fun and downtime!

All work and no play make Jane a boring — and unhappy — lawyer and person. It’s important to allow employees time to enjoy activities outside work. Whether that’s encouraging the use of vacation time or planning a partner retreat, time away from work responsibilities allows lawyers and staff to rejuvenate and come back refreshed and ready to work with new ideas.

(Also read “How to Take a Vacation.”)

Even if your firm or organization does not offer support in all these areas, you can take steps to create time and space for your own wellness. Maybe you want to involve some of your colleagues! When people join together to achieve wellness goals, they are more likely to achieve them. Plus, just joining with others improves your social well-being. That’s a win-win!

The Lawyer, the Lion, and the Laundry book cover

Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos

By Jamie Jackson Spannhake

In this bestselling book written for lawyers, former Biglaw litigator Jamie Spannhake helps you clarify your desires and set priorities so you can reclaim your time and enjoy your life. Available in soft-cover and digital format.


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Jamie Spannhake Jamie Spannhake

Jamie Jackson Spannhake is a writer, coach for lawyers, and speaker. She helps busy lawyers create lives they truly want, lives with time and space to do all the things she was told she couldn’t do as a successful lawyer. Her work with clients is based upon the principles in her book, “The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry.” She spent nearly 20 years practicing law in New York and Connecticut, in BigLaw, as a solo, and as a partner in a small firm. Learn more about her at JamieSpannhake.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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