Thu October 1 2020, 9:00 // Posted by Matthew Fong
Setting up healthy boundaries to keep your work at the office
Maintaining healthy boundaries is important for everyone. These boundaries allow for us to set expectations with the people around us, fostering healthy and stable relationships. Successful lawyers make their clients’ needs a priority. Lawyers know being responsive and building good rapport builds client trust is essential to their practice. A well-meaning lawyer may offer their personal phone number to ensure they are always available. While this helps with client care, what about the negative consequences of “always being available?” Providing clients with your personal number leads to the unintended consequence of receiving calls and messages when you’re off the clock. By not setting healthy communication boundaries with your clients, what about the time you need to set aside for your family, yourself, and those important in your life? The work life of a lawyer is challenging enough, why make your home life hard too.
According to the Lawyerist, “lawyers work in environments where the credo is…‘You can sleep after you’re dead’ or ‘work hard, play later.” Lawyer burnout is a real problem: many lawyers frequently experience clients calling about their anxieties, frustrations, and concerns at 8:00 PM when any hard working professional should start to settle down. Being confronted with client frustrations in turn may make you stressed, overworked, and/or burnt out.
Lawyer-turned-therapist Doron Gold, who specializes in treating lawyers and law students, observes that “inadequacy or absence of personal or professional boundaries is a persistent theme in the lives of so many of [his] clients.” It’s rigorous enough being a lawyer and not allowing time to destress is integral to work-life balance. Lawyers need to find ways to reset the boundaries of their life in order to establish and maintain work-life balance. Like all workers, you should be able to leave work once you’re off the clock.
While talking about balance sounds nice and easy, how would one begin to start adjusting their work practice to establish balance? Corvum is a dedicated VoIP phone service for lawyers that can help you with ensuring your calls happen during work hours, affording you time outside of work for yourself. Being raised by lawyers, one of Corvum’s founders, Graham Nelson-Zutter, “got to understand firsthand what their experiences were…trying to…manage a family,…be good parents, and have a good home environment, while at the same time, having a very demanding career.” While there are multiple ways to approach work-life balance, we believe the first step to success is moving your practice’s phone system to the cloud. If you haven’t done this, it’s time to adapt to new technology and invest in a VoIP phone service that cares about your success and here’s some reasons why:
Another reason why lawyers may provide clients with their personal number is due to the need for mobility in the legal field. If you don’t have a work number, Corvum can provide you with a work number separate from your personal number. This number can be connected to multiple devices: your polyphone, smartphone, and more. By switching to a VoIP system, you will be able to take work calls off your smartphone when inbound calls to your work number are made, no longer being locked to your desk. You also won’t have to spend more for a second smartphone, which is a big save!
Custom Schedule for Call Rerouting
When it comes to maintaining boundaries, it’s important to have a system in place to help upkeep them. Have a vacation coming up? You can create custom rules to route calls to another coworker. This will save your clients the frustration of ending up in your voicemail and instead with someone who can support their queries. Refrain from worrying about work when you’re not on the clock.
You will have the agency to be able to defer the call when off the clock. Corvum ensures you don’t accidentally answer a client call in a less-than-formal manner. When you get a call sent to your smartphone, an automated operator will inform you when picking up that this call is a work call. If you prefer not to take the call at that time, simply hang up and your client can leave you a message in your Corvum voicemail inbox. Stay informed while achieving that work-life blend!
Take time for yourself
Feeling like you’re stuck at work shouldn’t be happening or continue to impact your day-to-day. Don’t feel tied down to “business as usual.” Change can frequently feel uncertain, especially when it comes to changing your client interactions. Going from “all day” availability to 8-hour availability may feel like you’re letting clients down. But sticking with “business as usual” prevents you from spending time with friends and family, getting back into fishing, tackling that tower of books, or being able to just sit still. Your clients will continue to come to you worried, stressed, and scared, piling onto you when you’re already overworked. Expect these direct calls after hours to happen with no end.
Good relationships require collaboration, meaning that you are respected just as much as your clients. By being able to focus on your personal life and setting up healthy boundaries, you can increase your morale and health which will lead to increased quality in client relationships. If you prefer to still connect with your clients off the clock, at least provide yourself the agency to be able to leave work should an occasion arise.
Prevent yourself from bringing your clients’ anxieties into your home where you can unwind by setting up healthy boundaries. Existing clients used to always tell themselves “I’ve always done this” but have taken the time to set up hours for their work number and to not be disturbed off the clock. They have now been able to find time for themselves to be with their family and regain privacy in their lives. With Corvum, be secure with the privacy you can regain.