New Zealand Law Society - Wellness survey gives insights into lawyer wellbeing

Wellness survey gives insights into lawyer wellbeing

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A survey of employees at New Zealand and Australian law firms in the Meritas legal network has found that 63% of respondents had experienced depression or knew someone close to them in the workplace who had.

Meritas is an alliance of 183 law firms in 92 countries. Auckland firm Martelli McKegg is the sole New Zealand member and there are five member firms in Australia.

The survey was completed by 200 employees at the six Meritas firms, from partners through to non-legal professionals.

Of those who responded, 85% said they had experienced anxiety or they knew someone close to them in the workplace who had.

When asked how they sought help, 38% of respondents said they'd prefer to manage it themselves, 26% said they were worried about asking for help or what others might think of them and 21% said nothing would prevent them from accessing help.

"Most respondents said if their firm offered more dialogue, resources, training, and/or initiatives around wellbeing they would be likely to use them," the report says.

Asked about workplace culture, 83% of respondents said well-being was an important issue at their firm, and 45% said they felt there was an open door policy at work or they could talk to someone at their
workplace about personal and professional issues which affected their performance.

Questions on work/life balance revealed that 52% of respondents said they worked on average between 35 and 45 hours per week, while 21% said they worked between 45 hours and 55 hours. Overall, 94% of respondents said they found the demands of their work generally manageable.