Over one third of legal professionals experienced increased anxiety in 2022

updated on 21 April 2023

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A recent study has revealed that 37% of legal professionals worked on their days off last year, a figure predicted to rise to 50% in 2023.  

The health, wellbeing and habits study involved 1,000 employees from across the UK, who were asked various questions about their health status in 2022. Their aim was to research how evolving work patterns are affecting employees’ health and wellbeing, as well as suggest areas of improvement for employers.

It found that 33% of legal professionals experienced increased levels of anxiety in the past year, with a third naming “excessive stress” as a cause of this increase.

Around 20% of legal professionals also mentioned work-induced mental health issues, while only 10% referenced physical health concerns as a result of work.

Beyond the legal profession, the study found that 79% of workers in the UK had experienced “worsening physical or mental health” at one stage over the last 12 months.

In response to the question, ‘What more can employers be doing to tackle these wellbeing issues?’, the survey found:

  • 40% of respondents answered that they felt managers should provide better support;
  • 30% noted that they want improved promotion of sick leave; and
  • 37% asked for measures to be put in place to prevent employees from sitting for long periods.

Richard Holmes, Westfield Health’s director of wellbeing, commented: “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.”

That said, in the last three years law firms have made a significant step forward in increasing wellbeing within firms. Some past initiatives included:

If you want to learn more about mental health in the legal profession, check out our Feature.