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Getting That Work-Life Balance Right

Feb 2013

The increasingly competitive global market brings more pressures, potentially longer hours and more demanding clients. We are finding that along with this growing demand on time, more and more lawyers are talking to us about the importance of achieving the correct work/life balance when discussing their career development.This is the case not only for working parents but also for lawyers who have other family commitments, want to work from home, take on further study or just want to have a life outside the office.

So how are law firms reacting to this shift in priorities? Although there is still a long way to go, a few Scottish firms are beginning to realise that people actually work more productively when they can balance work and the rest of their lives and as such, are more open to flexible working hours. Sometimes this can mean incorporating a 5 day week into 4 days, which although is not ideal, is a step in the right direction.The problem is that our priorities shift throughout our lives and are sometimes quite difficult to define.

For example, you’re having your review and that increase is coming at just the right time and is well deserved but what, if any, are the expectations going with it and how do you fit this into your quest for a more balanced life?

The other extreme to knowing your limits in terms of your own productivity is the concerning phenomenon of ‘presenteeism’. More and more we read about employees working long hours in a bid to prove to their bosses that they are dedicated and hardworking. Never is this more poignant than in recession times. Is law really any different?

So the big question is how do you go about improving the work/life balance? How do you achieve it? When is the right time to seek it out? Unfortunately, there are no right or wrong answers.You need to be clear in your head about what it actually means to you as an individual. Seek advice from friends, colleagues, family and your recruitment consultant.There may be some risks for you – some partners may question your commitment.Whatever your approach, remember it’s a life change that you are making, so it’ s worth it and while it won’t happen overnight, with some careful consideration and planning, it can happen.

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