Making your office a fun place to work.

By at 14 August, 2008, 9:00 am

While most solo and small firm attorneys shy away from organizations such as the America Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and their state chapters such as the Wisconsin Association of Legal Administrators (WALA), it doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of their offerings.

ALA provides the Legal Management Resource Center (LMRC ) which contains terrific articles and other materials many of which are free and don’t require an ALA Membership. One such article is Put on a Happy Face (and Mean It). Ponder these Points to Make Your Firm a More Pleasant Place to Work (click here to download this article in PDF).

The article’s author, Kriss Will, tried to convey the concept that office managers need to stop looking at attorneys as the “enemy” and stop the habit of bashing the attorneys. According to the author:

The message I wanted these delegates to take home was that they have some control over how they feel at work. Especially as management professionals they can influence the culture of an organization. People who moan and groan all the time at work are not fun to be around.

We all know this to be true, but it is so easy to forget – if all you are going to do is complain, no one wants to work with you.

This article is a  quick read at only 5 pages, but contains some great thoughts and advice about making the office a better place to work. One that your staff will look forward to coming into each day. Here are a few of the points made and although they may seem a little campy, they are still sound:

Realize that if you get up in the morning thinking you are going to have a bad day, you will have a bad day. Self-fulfilling prophecies cannot be underestimated. Start the day thinking about what will go well.

Identify your GOOB factor: your “Get Out Of Bed” factor. What is it that makes you want to go to work? Think of ways to work with your team to increase the interesting, exciting and challenging parts of your work. Ask your team for ideas on how to make the less exciting factors at least more fun.Maybe you could institute a “silly hat day” in the accounts department at month end. This might lighten things up a little.

A de-stress tool that I often recommend when training managers and lawyers is to “walk the block before you do your block.” Just getting out of the office and clearing your head can greatly assist when dealing with challenging situations. It is amazing what a breath of fresh air does for the mind. And if you are up to it, try to see the funny side of the situation. There usually is one.

Do not become a slave to work. While I think work should be fun, it should not be the only fun in your life. Work/life balance is a juggle but not one that we managers should shy away from. It will be hard to have fun at work if you are constantly begrudging the amount of time you need to spend there.

While some of these may seem to be apparent to you, it’s always good to see them in writing and to also serve to point out what is often overlooked. I recommend that you take some time and peruse the ALA and WALA websites for other useful information that may benefit your practice.

Categories : Practice Management | Work Life Balance | Workplace Issues

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