Traditionally, the concept of workplace wellbeing equated to a handful of lifestyle-related discounts and the occasional onsite exercise class during lunch hours. For others, the word ‘wellbeing’ sparks images of a specific group of people who align wellbeing with a way of life.
Yet, positive wellbeing should not be reserved for the few; rather, it is a state of mental, physical and emotional equilibrium to which every individual can aspire. Law firms increasingly recognise the link between well-being and productivity and are taking steps to support their workforce and new hires through new initiatives.
Our research1 shows that 71% of law firms are increasing their focus on employee wellbeing for existing staff. They are increasing base salaries by more than 7% (56%) or reviewing benefits packages (37%). To encourage people back to work, they are making improvements to the office environment (37%) or adding new facilities (44%). Law firms recognise that to attract new people they will have to offer contracts on a hybrid working basis – with over half doing this. Almost half of law firms say they are looking at how employee well-being initiatives can be used to attract staff.
These initiatives recognise that wellbeing is not only about physical health or mental wellbeing; a significant influence on our overall state of wellbeing is how we feel about our finances. Law firms had previously considered the financial worries of their workforce as outside their remit. Money is personal and has long been a taboo topic both at home and in work. However, the impact of financial worries on the workers that keep firms functioning should not be underestimated; 70% of the UK workforce admit to spending time at work worrying about their finances2.
Poor financial wellbeing is costly for business
Our own research as part of the Evelyn Partners Business Confidence Survey conducted in spring 2023 revealed that 30% of business owners see financial wellbeing as the biggest worry for their employees. This is ahead of work/life balance, mental health or job security. Our 2023 5 Pillars employee wellbeing and benefit report revealed 86% of those surveyed said they felt their employees have more financial worries now than they had previously, with 88% of employers saying they plan to do more to support their employees with their financial wellbeing.
Poor financial wellbeing underpins a wide range of people-related costs that can heavily impact a firm. Financial stress experienced by employees can manifest itself in a range of ways in the workplace, from distraction during working hours, tiredness or irritability as a result of lack of sleep and in some cases, lengthy absenteeism due to financial stress and poor mental health. By investing in a comprehensive employee financial wellbeing strategy, law firms can see people-related costs drop significantly. From decreased absence driven by financial worries through to stronger employee retention, investing in financial wellbeing can truly boost profits.
It is tempting to believe that high-earning professions such as the law are immune to these pressures. However, lawyers are busy and often lack the time to devote to planning their finances effectively. Earning power and financial security do not always go hand in hand, particularly if debt levels are high.
Positive financial wellbeing can boost your business culture
People and performance lie at the heart of every successful law firm. When you invest in your people and create a positive work environment, improved performance should follow. However, in tough economic times, team spirit can quickly evaporate. In demonstrating that they care about their employees’ wellbeing, law firms can improve the working environment. After all, no one wants to feel as though they are simply a cog in a machine. Supporting employees as individuals to thrive in their personal lives as well as their careers can go a long way in generating employee loyalty.
Investing in a financial wellbeing strategy makes sense. In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and uncertain economic times, law firm have a valuable chance to enhance their Employee Value Proposition by adding financial wellbeing support and differentiating themselves from the competition. When this holistic approach is applied, they will see the benefits of a happier, healthier workforce.
So, what does a comprehensive and effective employee wellbeing strategy look like? Find out more about how we can support you and your employees by visiting the Evelyn Partners Moneyhealth website.
Annual Law Firm Survey 2023
Navigating the storm: riding out the turbulence and grasping the opportunities in the months ahead
 2023 Evelyn Partners Law Firm Survey
 Money & Mental Health Policy Institute – “Money worries in the workplace” – Research from Axa