Law firms urged to develop healthier workplaces

By Lara Bullock|19 October 2015
Brian Smith, Gadens

Firms must encourage a culture that promotes good health and well-being to maximise their employees' productivity, according to a Gadens partner.

Gadens has been running a health and wellbeing program since 2010 and is the first law firm in WA to be recognised with the Healthier Workplaces WA Gold status.

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Gadens partner Brian Smith said the firm has noticed a higher staff retention rate as its program has developed over time, and has also seen an increase in workplace morale.

“Law firms are traditionally known for their high-pressure working environment, unsociable hours and overindulgent functions, which are all factors that can contribute to poor health both physically and psychologically,” Mr Smith said.

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Law firms need to promote ideals such as responsible drinking, exercise, healthy eating and work-life balance to improve attendance and retention rates, and increase productivity, according to Mr Smith.

“There is often pressure in a traditional law firm culture to work very long hours and to demonstrate that you are committed to your billable targets,” he said.

“Furthermore, taking time to participate in H&W activities, such as running in your lunch break, would not always be recognised as positive in some law firm environments.”

Healthier Workplaces WA is a state-wide workplace health program that awards businesses with a bronze, silver or gold status for demonstrating commitment to creating a healthy workplace.

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