Nicola O'Hanlon
Nicola O'Hanlon
Senior Associate

Articles From the Team

Working from home – good or bad for your mental health?

Recruiting in conveyancing, I have to say working anywhere would challenge your mental health this month!! ...But now it’s over and I’m sure there will be lots of conveyancers celebrating what has been their busiest and toughest ever month.

Cheers to you all!!

Something I am encountering more of in the past 12 months especially, is conveyancers and assistants who are keen to find a better work/life balance.  One of the first questions I am now asked is whether a firm will allow remote working.

Remote working has been a way of life for many firms for over 12 months but going forward is this something, which will continue?  Many firms are keen to find a happy medium and are looking to offer a hybrid option whereby part of the week will be spent working from home and the remainder from the office.  This is beneficial for the firm to limit the number of people in the office but to also encourage teams to spend more time together.  Something, which can make all the difference to a new team member to avoid them feeling isolated and to help them settle in.

Let’s just say timekeeping isn’t one of my strong points so I am a big advocate of working from home.  I’m lucky that BCL offer flexible working to our team to suit each individuals circumstances.  Personally, not having to commute to the office adds an extra 2 hours on my day.  I can get so much more out of my day when I'm at home.

However, as reluctant as I am to admit it, I believe there are definite positives to working in the office, which I did last week.  It felt strange travelling in to Manchester city centre and seeing colleagues in the flesh after socialising via Zoom for a year!  But it was lovely and we all went for (socially distanced!) drinks afterwards and had a good catch up with each other. 

I read an article from RSPH (Royal Society For Public Health) which revealed the impacts of home working during COVID, which showed key disparities between different groups of people who made the move to work from home as a result of COVID.

The research showed;

People felt home working was better for their health and well being 45% compared to 29% who thought it was worse. 

However, people who had switched to home working due to COVID had experienced impacts –

67% less connected to colleagues, 46% taking less exercise, 39% developing musculoskeletal problems and 37% disturbed sleep.
One in four 26% are working from a bedroom or the sofa and 56% find it harder to switch off’ 

There is a lot to be said for finding that right balance and I appreciate this is different for everyone and depends on your personal circumstances.  Going forward I will split my week and will do half of my week working at home and the rest in the office (and going for drinks afterwards!)  – win win!! 

If you are keen to find a better work/life balance in your role and would like a confidential chat, please call Nicola O’Hanlon at BCL Legal.

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