Just 17 per cent of all respondents to Lawyer 2B’s Stress in Law survey were aware of initiatives within their firm to help employees manage stress.
A further 28 per cent weren’t sure whether their firm had policies in place or not, while more than half – 55 per cent – said their firm had no stress-busting initiatives.
The magic circle scored best for stress policies: more than 40 per cent of respondents from this group were aware of initiatives provided by their firm. In-house departments fared next best, with just over a quarter of lawyers outside private practice aware of initiatives provided by their company.
Nine out of ten lawyers practising on the high street said their firms had no stress-management initiatives in place, a figure matched at small and boutique London firms. US firms in London also fared poorly: only 6 per cent of respondents in this group were aware of stress-management initiatives provided by their place of work
Of those respondents who were aware of initiatives run by their firm, 36 per cent had taken advantage of them.
The most commonly mentioned source of support by respondents were counselling services, either internal or external. Also regularly mentioned was access to a confidential helpline, as were a variety of stress management training sessions and mental health risk assessments. Yoga classes were also mentioned by a small number of respondents.
One respondent mentioned a “supervision programme to monitor associate workflow and where, in theory at least, you should be able to raise concerns before matters get out of control and steps should be taken to improve the situation.”
Finally, the initiative cited by a partner at one small London firm was: “All staff are mandatorily required to have a sense of humour.”
A handful of complaints centred on stress-related material being hidden away or difficult to find or access:
- “We have a very simple one line page deep in the intranet with a link to BUPA’s standard stress page.”
- “We have a counselling service available in Harley Street; however it is extremely difficult to get out and attend sessions, as the counsellors are only available during ‘normal’ work hours, which are near-impossible to meet.”
- “External counselling: very difficult to find out about, and therefore difficult to access.”