Happy workers are an integral part of any successful and productive business—especially law firms. However, because lawyers are more prone to depression than the rest of the population, this can prove particularly difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of changes that you can implement to create a work environment that breeds happiness. According to a study performed by economists at the University of Warwick, happy workers are 12% more productive. So, this can help you to not only protect the mental health of your employees, but also to increase your firm’s overall profitability.
1. Create a space where your workers want to spend time
While you certainly do not need to fill your office with beanbag chairs, video games, and elaborate decorations, it is important that your workers enjoy being in the space. This can be as simple as making sure that the office is well lit and having a few plants around. Natural light is energizing and studies show that humans have an inherent love of nature—even just looking at greenery can have a mood boosting effect according to studies performed by psychologists at Exeter University. Thus, you can create a happier work environment by cracking open the window shades and placing a few plants around the office. This will have the greatest effect if you make sure that everyone can see at least one plant from his or her desk.
2. Encourage healthy and active lifestyles
It is important to be mindful of the prevalence of depression among lawyers and help to combat this in your employees. There is no doubting the connection between exercise and happiness. Endorphins released during physical activity have both immediate and lasting effects on mood. Promoting health and wellness by offering incentives, such as paying for gym memberships, or having a few pieces of gym equipment available, is an easy way to let your workers know that you value their wellbeing and that they should, too. Even something as simple as encouraging a few minutes of mediation each day can result in happier workers.
3. Have fun!
Schedule monthly activities to participate in as an office to bond and to show your employees that you value their hard work. These can range from having lunch as an office, going to a bar next-door for happy hour, seeing a show at a local theater, or volunteering. Spending time together outside of a work environment can help to foster better relationships. It can give employees the tools to work together to solve problems more quickly and swiftly deal with any new challenges that arise. Your workers will be happier knowing that their hard work is not going unrewarded and that they have something fun to look forward to each month.
Making a few simple changes can have many tangible rewards. Your employees will work better together and you can see an increase in their loyalty to your firm. Thus, your associates and paralegals will see their positions as long-term and there will be young, new talents eager to join them. Again, according to economists at the University of Warwick, happy workers are 12% more productive, thus there is incredible monetary value in the above suggestions. If the average paralegal can handle 200 cases at any given time, your happy paralegals could potentially increase their case loads to 224 cases. If your average win rate is 75%, you could now win 168 cases, rather than 150. With an average Social Security disability payment to claimant representatives of about $3,000, a firm this size can see an increase in revenue of $54,000 per year, simply from being a little happier in the office. You might even find that not only your workers are happier, but so are you!