In association with LawWare: For many in the legal profession, working from home during the pandemic blurred the distinction between home life and work. For some, that can lead to burnout

For many in the legal profession, working from home during the pandemic blurred the distinction between home life and work. For some, that can lead to burnout.

Personal perspective

I have to be honest, when the first lockdown came, I took to homeworking like a duck to water. Did I miss the 10 hours per week commuting? No! That gave me time to do other things like the novelty of eating breakfast, preparing properly cooked food, doing the chores so the weekend is free and being financially better off.

Would I go back? Absolutely not. However, that's not the case for others. Let's take a look at just what that means.

What is burnout?

According to the mental health charity, Mind:

“Burnout isn't technically a diagnosis in itself, but instead it refers to a collection of symptoms. You may feel completely exhausted, have little motivation for your job, feel irritable, or anxious and you may see a dip in your work performance. Some people also experience physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches, or have trouble sleeping.”

The inability to compartmentalise, the social isolation and being joined at the hip to PC and phone can lead to long hours, stress and tiredness.

Several people I know have taken the route 1 approach and dashed straight back to the office at the first opportunity.

Others whose firms have adopted home working for the foreseeable future are not so lucky. So, what can you do to avoid this?

Live as if you were in the office

  • Stick to normal working hours – unfailingly.
  • Take annual leave
  • Make sure your family respect your space when you are working.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Use the evenings and weekends to follow enjoyable pursuits.
  • If you are struggling, ask your manager or colleagues for help.

It's surprising how many people didn't take these simple measures and suffered as a result.

Practical measures

This means getting the right kit. If you can, work at home in a room that is dedicated to just that. Fill it with the kind of things your office used to have: a proper desk and suitable chair come as standard as does a decent internet connection and print and scan facilities if you need them.

Install video communication hardware and software so that you can hold virtual meetings as frequently as you used to when you were in the office. Email and phone are not enough on their own.

Get the most out of your legal software

Well, you knew I'd say that eventually! But it is still a valid point. The key purpose of practice management software is to allow you to work from anywhere and to do so more efficiently.

Ask your supplier for help with this or take a few online courses at their academy to see how you can speed up your work. At the end of the day, they are there to help you get the work done in time to enjoy the rest you deserve.

To find out how legal software can help you work more efficiently, contact us at innovate@lawware.co.uk or call 0345 2020 578.

The Author

Mike O'Donnell, LawWare

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