Wellbeing in Conveyancing
There is no doubt about it. Conveyancing is stressful. We work in a stressful industry.
That doesn’t mean we need to be stressed.
It’s fair to say that in the last few years many factors have contributed towards the industry becoming more and more pressurised- a pandemic, the economy, stamp duty deadlines, politics, the increased use of technology…
It is estimated that half of us experience stress, anxiety or depression as a result of our work life.
We world in which we live AND the world in which we work all expect results and answers instantly. We constantly have our phones in our hands and so do clients. Conveyancers these days have their emails on their phones meaning they never really ‘switch off’ from work. Clients email day and night. All these factors are not helping conveyancers achieve the work/ life balance essential for good mental health.
At ntitle, we speak to many conveyancers who would only consider ever completing a complicated title investigation at home on a Sunday afternoon claiming, ‘I can’t get anything done in work, the phone won’t stop’. Surely this isn’t right?
In 2021 a Dye and Durham survey revealed that 43% of conveyancers felt under more pressure since the start of the pandemic.
It is no surprise that the wellbeing of Conveyancers is deteriorating. So, what can we do to help….
So, what can employers do to help?
As employers we have a duty to get to know our colleagues and we need them to be able to talk to us. Regular, open and honest conversations about workloads, pressures, stresses, problems, homelife and mental health in general can help our teams feel supported. At ntitle we make sure we do this as a group and on an individual basis. We make sure our team know they can come to us to discuss how they are feeling and ask for support, whether it be work related or not.
There is a strange perception in Conveyancing where it is believed the more overtime hours someone works, the better an employee they are. This is of course nonsense and in an ideal workplace we should be judged only on the commitment shown during contracted hours. Employers should be aware of caseloads, ability and experience and encourage employees to work effectively and efficiently within the working day. If an individual feels they need to work additional hours, this should be seen as a failure on the part of the employer and at this point, the employer should take the opportunity to review practices, procedures and address training needs.
Employers can set examples by showing their term how to achieve a healthy work-life balance. There is much evidence to prove that where an employee has the right work-life balance, they become more efficient in the workplace and this of course all has a positive impact on their wellbeing and on the business.
Flexible working and working from home, in particular, has done wonders for a work-life balance. In theory we gain commuting time and the time it takes to have a quick chat whilst making a coffee in the office kitchen and this extra time should be utilised in whichever way we wish. However, employers should be aware of the consequences of working from home and ensure extra measure are in place to check on their team.
Exercise and mindfulness should be encouraged. Conveyancing is a demanding job but it does not involve much movement! Keeping fit and active has been proven to improve wellbeing, have a positive impact on mental health and improve productivity in the workplace. It also has benefits to the immune system, therefore reducing sick days.
So, I have discussed some of the things employers can do to support Conveyancers but what can we do as an industry?
So, what can the industry do?
The Conveyancing Industry has taken huge steps in recent years to improve the wellbeing and mental health of conveyancers. The incentives such as Today’s Conveyancer Call for Kindness Campaign have highlighted mental health issues within the industry and have made us all talk!
In Conveyancing we need to step away from the blame culture which has developed. We need to be able to support a Conveyancer through an honest error. We need to pass on knowledge and encourage.
Parties working in the transaction, need to stop blaming each other for delays but rather support and work together to overcome challenges. LinkedIn rants blaming one another or highlighting those less experienced need to stop. We are all working towards the same goal. Be kind. Nobody is perfect.
The most important change we can make as an industry is to normalise mental health, focus on wellbeing and keep talking.
To summarise, we need to support one another in Conveyancing. It’s not an easy job but nobody understands the pressures of Conveyancing like Conveyancers! Employers need to support their staff; Conveyancers need to support their colleagues and we need all need to get talking about mental health every day.