Workplace burnout is real. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) now recognizes burnout in the International Classification of Diseases. For those in the legal industry, you know this better than most. The stress of working in a law firm affects all levels of employees so taking steps to encourage balance is important. So too is implementing workplace tools and practices that can make a paralegal’s job less overwhelming.
Signs of Paralegal Burnout
Everyone handles their stress and emotions differently, but eventually feelings of being overwhelmed and overworked get the best of us one way or another.
For some, burnout manifests itself through physical symptoms like illnesses, headaches, body aches, or high blood pressure. For others, their work begins to suffer noticeably. They start to make mistakes, lose focus, or drop the ball on an important case.
How to Prevent Paralegal Burnout
Regardless of your role at a law firm, it’s essential to recognize and take paralegal burnout seriously or it can have a domino effect across your entire organization. Burnout can be the result of too much work, constantly changing expectations, a negative work environment, lack of support and a host of other reasons.
Instituting workplace policies can be one way to reduce burnout, such as ensuring everyone has access to (and takes!) time off. Here are some other ways to prevent paralegal burnout.
- Equip paralegals with effective tech tools to make their job less overwhelming – For example, automation can streamline repetitive tasks. An app like Notion can make collaboration across the firm easy and simplify the organization of case files and notes. These and other tech tools can free up time and mental headspace so paralegals can work more efficiently and have the space they need to maintain balance outside of work too.
- Ensure access to mental health resources – Review your HR policies and insurance plans, but then go a step further and be sure you encourage your staff to take advantage of workplace resources.
- Promote goal setting – Goals can be strong motivators and give us something positive to work towards. They can also provide meaning during an otherwise stressful situation. Regularly setting personal and professional goals can help employees and avoid burnout.
- Foster a positive workplace culture – A negative work environment can suck the life right out of someone. Set the tone for a positive workplace culture by being respectful of all employees, offering rewards and incentives, or sponsoring department or company-wide events. Paralegals who feel appreciated are going to be more willing to go the extra mile when they know they’ll be recognized for it.
Small changes in your law firm can have a big impact on your staff’s well-being and mental health. It also will impact workplace productivity. If you have questions about leveraging technology to help manage your paralegals’ workloads, please get in touch with us at Honeycrisp.