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For Employers

The Law Institute of Victoria recognises that achieving positive health and wellbeing outcomes for all employees in the legal community is a shared responsibility for us all – both at an individual level, and for organisations.

This page has been developed to support legal firms and organisations aspirations in deliveringeffective health and wellbeing programs for their employees. 

Why workplace health in the law matters

1.      Organisational effectiveness – it’s good for business

Lawyer well-being contributes to organisational success. . If cognitive functioning is impaired legal professionals will be unable to do their best work. For law firms and corporations, lawyer health is an important form of human capital that can provide a competitive advantage.

2.      Ethical integrity – it’s good for clients and the profession

Lawyer well-being influences ethics and professionalism. The law requires lawyers to provide competent representation, be diligence in client representation, and regulate working with people other than clients. Minimum competence is critical to protecting clients and allows lawyers to avoid regulatory action.

3.      Humanitarian concerns – it’s the right thing to do

From a humanitarian perspective, promoting wellbeing is the right thing to do. Untreated mental health and unhealthy habbits and behavious can ruin lives and careers and unfortunately affect too many of our colleagues. While our profession prioritises individualism and self-sufficiency, we all contribute to, and are affected by, the collective legal culture. Whether that culture is toxic or sustaining and supportive is up to all of us. Our interdependence creates a joint responsibility for finding and providing solutions.

What makes a good workplace health strategy?

A good workplace health strategy should meet the six key best practice framework elements:

The targets

It should target both employees and employers.

Balance of responsibility

It is important to have a balance of responsibility and accountability between employee and employer when it comes to workplace health.

The wellness quadrants

It should be a strategic balance of all four wellness quadrants based on the programs objectives :

  • Physical wellbeing
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Workplace environment
  • Workplace culture

Stages of intervention

A program should identify where on the prevention – intervention – support continuum it fits according to the needs of the organisation at this time.

Engagement

The vitality of your program can simply be measured by the number of people taking part. To maximise engagement a program requires :

  • Organisational support
  • Removing barriers to participation
  • Effective internal marketing and communications

Delivering programs and activities for staff Behaviour change

Behaviour change should underpin the fundamental structural and design components of any workplace health solution with the aim of positively influencing health behaviours and lifestyle choices .

The approach

Determine your objective(s)and define success

Design a strategy blueprint with innovative architecture

Have creative communication strategies whilst maximising engagement 

Program delivery excellence

Measure success and adopt the principle of continuous improvement

Global statistics and research

A recent global survey of workforce wellbeing strategies highlights some key findings in this space.

  • 81% of organisations aspire to a culture of wellbeing
  • The top 3 reasons organisation invest in workplace health are
  • improving employee engagement/morale (84%)
  • improving performance & productivity (83%)
  • attracting & retaining employees (75%)
  • Key health drivers included stress, physical activity and health eating
  • Major emphasis within wellness programs included physical health, mental wellbeing and emotional wellbeing.
  • There has been a significant rise in the number of organisations citing promoting corporate image and brand as a motivating factor for workplace health
  • Heath checks continue to be a popular health-at-work initiative
  • 83% cite financial distress as a top financial wellbeing issue  along with the inability to retire (72%)
  • Employees cited lack of motivation, time, scepticism / mistrust and lack of awareness as key barriers to participation in workplace health programs
  • Some of the most effective offerings cited were health checks /screenings, onsite immunisations and EAP
  • 55% of organisations have an internal wellbeing brand
  • Currently leader support for workplace wellness is poor
  • A dramatic increase in the use of technology, specifically phone apps, was cited

Reference:

‘Working Well; a global survey of workforce wellbeing strategies’ – 8th Edition, Dec 2018; BUCK

Further reading:

  • THE PATH TO LAWYER WELL-BEING: Practical Recommendations For Positive Change; THE REPORT OF THE NATIONAL TASK FORCE ON LAWYER WELL-BEING USA 2017 – SUMMARY & Full report
  • Working Well; a global survey of workforce wellbeing strategies – 8th Edition, Dec 2018; BUCK – SUMMARY and Full report

Workplace wellbeing checklists

The following questionnaire has been designed to assist organisations in determining the roadmap for their workplace wellness journey – be it for the first time or if your organisation is re-evaluating its current strategy.

1. WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE?

What is your main motivation for implementing a workplace wellness strategy and/or program?

  • Promoting a culture of care
  • Improving employee engagement/morale
  • General health & wellbeing awareness
  • Reduce risk
  • Reduce cost
  • Improve the working environment
  • Show social responsibility
  • Improving performance and productivity
  • Attracting and retaining employees
  • Furthering organisational values/mission
  • Improving workplace safety
  • Being an employer of choice
  • Reducing employee absenteeism / presenteeism
  • Promoting corporate image or brand

2. WHERE IS YOUR FOCUS?

What percentage of focus / resource would you allocate to each of the following?

  • Physical wellbeing………_____%
  • Mental wellbeing……….._____%
  • Working environment..______%
  • Workplace culture…….._____%

 3. DEFINE SUCCESS

  • What does success look like for your program?
  • What specific outcomes are you looking to achieve?
  • Within what time frame are you looking to achieve your outcomes?

4. STAGES OF INTERVENTION

Where do you see your wellbeing initiative sitting along the prevention - intervention - support continuum?

Prevention

targeting the well; keeping the well well

Proactive

targeting those deemed at risk

Reactive

targeting those with identified risk – early intervention

Responsive

treatment focussed, risk mitigation

Support

post intervention, recovery and support

5. BALANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY

Where do you see the balance of responsibility and accountability when it comes to your people’s health and wellbeing?

EMPLOYEE-------------------50%---------------------------EMPLOYER

6. ARE YOU READY?

Where are you at in your decision-making process when it comes to committing to a workplace wellness strategy and/or program?

  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Budget setting
  • Pending approval
  • Proceeding
  • Implementation

Once you have completed the questionnaire, review your responses in context with your objective(s).

Your reason for wanting to implement an effective workplace wellness strategy or program will act as the starting point to developing your framework or proposal. This can be different depending on the focus of your program. For example, reducing risk versus creating a culture of care will necessarily take on a different focus, strategy, program design and delivery modality.

LIV mentoring program

The LIV recognises the important role mentors play in the professional growth and development of their fellow lawyers. Since 2009 we have been helping to facilitate many successful and rewarding mentoring relationships for our members. Click here for information about our mentoring program.

 https://www.liv.asn.au/Professional-Practice/Supporting-You/Information-on-Mentoring

LIV articles and media

Regular articles, blogs and press releases by the Law Institute of Victoria on health and wellbeing in the law - view here.

We encourage you to share these articles to your colleagues and contacts in the Victorian legal community. 

LIV Wellbeing Award

The LIV introduced a Wellbeing Award for the 2019 annual Victorian Legal Awards program to recognise outstanding contribution by a firm or individual to the wellbeing of people in our sector.

Ethics and practice support

Understand your professional conduct obligations and find support to resolve ethical dilemmas in your practice - visit the LIV Ethics Hub.