Are Your Attorneys Overworked?

According to a Gallup poll, on-the-job pressure is the top reason for employee dissatisfaction in the American workforce. 40 percent of American workers say their job is "very or extremely stressful." Mounting evidence shows that overworked employees are detrimental to the companies they work for. Studies have found that being overworked and stressed out can lead to a number of health problems, including depression, alcoholism, impaired sleep, diabetes, impaired memory, and heart disease.

overworked attorneys costWhile these health problems are bad on their own, they’re also terrible for an organization’s bottom line -- contributing to increased turnover, rising health insurance costs, and more. In fact, American businesses lose a total of $300 billion annually to costs stemming from stress.

Even if your attorneys aren’t vocal about how overworked they are, they may still be broadcasting clear signs that they are stressed or overwhelmed by their workload. Happy employees are the most effective employees, so it’s important to spot overworked attorneys as soon as possible and find a solution for removing their stress.

Here are a few ways to identify if your attorneys are reaching their breaking point:

1. Change in Attitude

Are your most positive employees showing signs of negativity or irritability while at work? Stress can cause your attorneys to lash out uncharacteristically. 

2. Missed Deadlines

If your attorney was at one time dependable and consistent, but has recently become unreliable, it is likely that the decrease in productivity is because he or she is overworked. Missed deadlines are a clear sign that your attorneys have too much on their plate.

3. More Sick Days

Over half of American workers have called in sick when they weren’t ill. When asked why, 62 percent said it was due to stress from work.  Additionally, overworked employees may request a higher-than-normal numbers of sick days, because long hours of work can cause health issues.

4. Disengagement

An attorney that eagerly makes suggestions and offers up feedback is one that’s excited about their work and the success of the firm. On the other hand, when an employee is feeling burned out (and not so optimistic about their work), he or she disconnects and becomes more removed from the organization. These employees will talk less during meetings, stay at their desk all day or stay in their office for hours.

Don’t let your stressed attorneys go unnoticed. Law firms that identify overworked attorneys and work to remove that stress will ultimately reap the benefits of increased productivity. If you find that you just have too much work for the number of attorneys employed at your firm, bringing in freelance legal talent could be the solution you’re looking for.

Services like Hire an Esquire are making it easier than ever to find freelance attorneys that can immediately add value to your firm. Flexible staffing enables your law firm to avoid the fixed cost of salaries, which can add up to big savings in the long run. This way, you can alleviate the workload of your stressed attorneys, while increasing productivity at your law firm. Success is paramount, and you can’t do it without the help of your staff.