Understanding the importance of work-life balance in the legal sector

Legal recruitment specialist Jodie Beck from Sellick Partnership discusses work/life balance in the sector.

‘Work/life balance’ is a phrase often heard by recruiters and employers alike. It means something different to everyone, but is becoming increasingly important to individuals, particularly when lines begin to blur between the office and home. With the rise in technology and easy access to internet on-the-go, people often find themselves checking emails and working whilst on their commute or once at home on the sofa when it is time to relax.

Support from employers for a healthy work-life balance is therefore becoming one of the most desired features when looking for a new role, and is now something that many firms are adding to their list of additional benefits. In fact, over the last 12 months, one of the main reasons cited for looking to leave a firm is to achieve a better work-life balance.

What exactly is a work/life balance?

Nowadays, people are working increasingly long hours, with many professionals logging in at home once they have left the office. The sought after work-life balance is essentially just being able to maximise the amount of time you can spend at home with family and friends and doing what you want to do, without letting work take over. With the increased awareness in the importance of mental health, and being able to switch off from work, work-life balance is becoming a well-known phrase in the recruitment market.

A healthy balance can be achieved by various means – whether it is part-time hours, flexible working, or even agile working, with the opportunity to work from home.

Why is it on the agenda?

It may seem obvious, but it is not just women with young children who want and need a work-life balance. You should not need a young family to be able to benefit from the likes of flexible working arrangements or the opportunity to work from home, and in the legal sector, it is becoming increasingly important to offer all members of staff the opportunity to achieve a healthier work-life balance, in order to maintain a happy and healthy workforce.

There is a view in the legal industry that it is the larger corporate firms, both national and international, that work you to the bone and prevent people from having any form of life outside of the office. However, it seems it is these larger practices that are at the forefront of the market, having introduced schemes for their employees to assist them in their quest for a better work-life balance. It is then these firms that are seemingly benefitting from the introduction of flexible working patterns or agile working.

For some time now, some local high street and regional practices have been the stars of the show in offering part time hours, however these seem to be the firms less willing to adopt a flexible working policy or to offer working from home to their employees. By no means is this the case for every firm, but there is still work to be done so that firms do not continue to lose their employees to companies who promote an excellent work-life balance as an additional benefit.

Both employers and employees alike are becoming more aware of not only the importance of a work-life balance, but the positive impact it can have on a workforce. Many employers cite improved efficiency and performance levels after having implemented flexible working patterns, or the opportunity to work from home, and many candidates are grateful to have the chance to work in a way that best suits their lifestyle.

If you are an employer looking to discuss what you can offer with regards to attracting and retaining those individuals looking for a healthy work-life balance, or if you are a candidate seeking a new legal job with the opportunity to gain a better work-life balance please feel free to get in touch with me on 0113 243 9775 or via email: Jodie.beck@sellickpartnership.co.uk

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