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28th Jun 2023

Establish Healthy Work/Life Boundaries in 2023

Embracing work-life boundaries is not only about finding time for yourself but also about ensuring sustainable growth and long-term success in your chosen field.

Andrew Murdoch

Andrew Murdoch

Managing Director

Effectively managing work-life boundaries remains crucial for part-time in-house lawyers, allowing them to reduce work-life conflicts and prioritise their mental and physical well-being. As we navigate through an ever-evolving world where work and nonwork roles often overlap, it becomes essential to establish healthy and sustainable boundaries, especially for part-time legal professionals.

The trend of part-time working among lawyers continues to gain momentum, with a significant increase in its adoption. In fact, last year saw 16% of lawyers opting for part-time arrangements, a number that is expected to rise even further in 2023.

Anecdotally, there is a greater availability of four-day-a-week in-house legal roles compared to those offering three days or less. It appears that many organisations attempt to fit a traditional five-day workload into a compressed schedule.

This is precisely why setting and maintaining boundaries is particularly crucial for part-time lawyers.

Here are some practical tips for establishing and upholding healthy work-life boundaries:
  1. Set Expectations Early: During the interview process, clearly communicate your boundaries and include them in your employment contract. Establishing boundaries from the start is easier than trying to implement them retrospectively.
  2. Schedule Workdays: Instead of focusing on a specific number of hours per week, consider scheduling specific workdays. This approach can provide greater flexibility and ease in managing your workload effectively, such as dedicating 30 hours per week spread across specific days.
  3. Communicate Availability: Include your work schedule in your email signature, explicitly listing the days you work and those you do not. This way, colleagues and clients will be aware of when you’re available and can plan accordingly.
  4. Utilise Out-of-Office Messages: Set up automatic out-of-office replies on the days you don’t work. This will help manage expectations and let others know you may not respond immediately.
  5. Protect Your Non-Work Time: Block out your diary on the days you don’t work to prevent meetings or appointments from being scheduled during those periods. This will safeguard your personal time and reinforce your boundaries.
  6. Establish Separate Communication Channels: Consider having a separate work phone or voicemail system that clearly communicates the days you are available for work-related matters. This separation can help reinforce the boundaries between your professional and personal life.
  7. Be Firm and Proactive: Ultimately, it is up to you to maintain and enforce your work-life boundaries. Do not solely rely on your company to set or uphold these boundaries. Be assertive in communicating and advocating for your needs and priorities.

By implementing these practical tips, part-time in-house lawyers can better establish healthy work-life boundaries in 2023. Remember, the key is proactive communication and a firm commitment to prioritise your well-being alongside your professional responsibilities.

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