By Whittney Dunn, Risk Manager
All lawyers understand the importance of having connections and building a network for business development and client services, but numerous studies have proven that meaningful social connections are just as essential to physical, mental and emotional well-being as a great Rolodex is to a firm’s financial health. In a time when many in the profession are working from home, staying connected may seem like a hopeless task, but there are strategies you can employ to bridge the virtual gap and reap the benefits.
- Find your virtual water cooler: Many business meetings and client consultations have been moved online due to increasing remote work, but you may find yourself missing the spontaneous social interaction of a group office environment such as the Friday afternoon pop-in by your favorite coworker or the daily morning chat at the coffee maker. Find a way to mimic those interactions with phone calls, text messages or video calls throughout your workweek. If you work as a solo practitioner or in a small firm, check out online communities and connection opportunities through your local and state bar associations to fill this need.
- Use and stick to a social calendar: If you find it difficult to prioritize social connections due to other work pressures, use your office or personal calendar as a tool. Set appointments for social interactions and treat them as if they are just as important as the video call with your big client.
- Make lunch plans: Even with restaurants closed, you can still set up a lunch bull session with a coworker, friend or colleague to make the most of your mid-day break. This could also double as a networking opportunity if you have lunch delivered to a client.
- Take time for family and self: Lawyers have long lamented the pressure of 24/7 availability expectations due to communication technology, and those working from home are seeing work creep into their personal time more than ever. Don’t feel bad about drawing a line in the sand and turning off your work laptop or shutting down work email notifications after a certain point each evening. Use your non-working time to relax with those you love and care about most.
- Mentor a new lawyer: With the new reality of an uncertain economy, many new lawyers and recent law graduates are feeling anxious about employment opportunities and career growth. Mentoring a new lawyer through this difficult time can be a rewarding way to stay connected and feel good about yourself for lending a hand.
We are all aware there is a wellness crisis in the legal profession. Too many lawyers are not thriving and The Bar Plan wants to be part of the solution. We are committed to continuing to provide CLEs on this topic, relevant content, and to strive to evolve our business to support this cause.