Why National Work Life week is so important

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Did you know that this week (01-05 October) is officially National Work Life Week?

The week is designed to remind businesses of the importance of implementing a positive work life balance for all staff.

This is something which is extremely important to us.

Not just because we want to be seen as a great employer (which we clearly are!) but because we genuinely believe that our staff will be much happier if they are encouraged to take time to focus on themselves or their families.

If you ever pop into your local coffee shop at lunchtime, or catch the train to London during rush hour, you’ll notice how many people are glued to their phones checking emails before they’ve even arrived at the office. But if you never really switch ‘off’ are you really working most effectively when you are in the office?

We believe that everyone needs to be able to completely sit back and relax at the end of a hard day. That’s why we tell our staff (even our lawyers) that we do not expect them to be in the office before 8.30am, and certainly no later than 6.30pm. Clearly there are times when work needs to be completed, but it is a system which works for us. Our staff feel much happier, and more motivated which means that we can confidently put the needs of our clients first.

Practising what we preach

Of course, saying this is easy – so here are a few examples of what we do to encourage a great work/life balance and how this is making a difference.

Flexible working hours

The traditional 9-5pm working day is disappearing. Flexible hours are becoming more popular, and we’re incredibly proud that less than 25% of our team work our full office hours.

All our employees are welcome to take advantage of a mix of starting/finishing times, we offer part-time or flexible working hours and we listen to our staff needs to create something which suits them.

We know that everyone has different priorities – some staff may be single parents, others may be caring for elderly relatives, or may need something which allows them to manage the school run. Whatever it is, we do what we can to support their needs, while still providing the excellent service to clients that we are known for

We are proud to call ourselves a family-friendly business.

Where possible, we always try to accommodate time off for family-related activities such as school plays, parent-teacher meetings, or even accompanying relatives to medical appointments.

Life is about spending time with family, and we’re pleased to be able to help our team make these precious moments.

Offering a female-friendly approach

The legal profession has traditionally been male dominated, yet this is starting to change.

In the Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report for 2017, it was reported that for the first time ever, the number of working female solicitors (50.1%) has exceeded men.

This does not surprise us – after all, 80% of our lawyers are female, and 85% of our total workforce are women. Our female-friendly approach is not just about offering flexible working hours, it’s about offering support for women returners so that they are not disadvantaged by taking a career break. This is something we are immensely proud of.

Let’s look to the future

We truly hope that as we move towards 2019, businesses will start to understand the importance of ensuring that their staff are benefiting from a work/life balance.

At Burnett Barker we take great care in offering a flexible working attitude towards all our employees. Whilst we are proud of our approach, we are slightly disheartened that in 2018, it is still seen as ‘progressive’.

We think that flexibility should be standard for all employers, no matter what industry or sector.

In our experience, we have certainly benefited from an extremely happy and motivated workforce, and we will carry on offering new incentives to support our staff in whatever ways possible.

To find out more about what our staff say about our flexible working approaches, why not visit our Facebook and Twitter pages?