Search and software provider poweredbypie, a Dye & Durham company, has revealed the extent of mental health decline in the industry. A research survey of 338 conveyancers conducted last month by poweredbypie, showed that 80% respondents had experienced a decline in their own mental health or that of a colleague due to work pressure during the Pandemic. 19% referred to a ‘significant’ decline in their own mental health or that of a colleague.
Jeremy Dorkins, director of customer success, poweredbypie commented: “Remote communication, the SDLT holiday, furloughed staff and managing increased workloads during the past year has resulted in huge pressure for conveyancers. Our findings are concerning and reveal the extent of the issue faced by colleagues in our industry.”
The survey also pointed to changed customer expectations as a causative effect, with 45% of respondents agreeing, and a further 41% strongly agreeing, with the statement: the Pandemic has changed customers’ expectations when it comes to accessing services online/remotely. As a result, 47% of respondents felt the current situation had increased the pressure they felt at work and a further 43% felt pressure had increased significantly.
One respondent stated: “Expectations have been unrealistic at times with clients not willing to accept any disruption…” Another pointed to: “more stress having to cope with extra work and longer hours because of staff being furloughed.” Another added: “people were not as understanding as you think they would be, given the circumstances.”
Jeremy Dorkins continued: “These statistics and comments start to show the scale of the challenges.
“We also looked at whether conveyancers anticipated if they would continue to work from home post lockdown. Interestingly, more than half (54%) stated they do not expect to continue to work from home at all, while 25% thought part-time home working would continue with only 5% stating they thought they would continue to work from home full time. This may indicate that conveyancing firms feel ‘getting back into the office’ may provide some answers.
“We also looked at technology’s role in enabling remote client communication with 29% of respondents stating their firm had already invested in technology to enable remote interaction. A further 18% thought their firm would be likely to invest in the future. 35% were unsure and 18% thought it unlikely investment would be made in technology to enable remote client interaction.
“29% of our survey respondents believed that new technology had already alleviated pressure at work, with a further 18% stating it is very likely it could help.
“As a technology company we understand the benefits of tech to automate repetitive tasks and enable secure online communication which can speed up workflows and ultimately reduce workloads. With more than a third (35%) of responds ‘unsure if new technology has the potential to alleviate pressure at work’, these findings could point to a more important role which tech companies could play in helping to educate about the latest advances in technology. In this way, they could help law firms more and in-turn contribute to reducing the pressure felt by conveyancing staff.
“We have endorsed Today’s Conveyancer’s recent Call for Kindness campaign calling on the sector to be kind and calm at a time when the pressures continue to grow. The industry faces deep challenges and if technology can ease some of the burden by automating simple processes and help in some small way, our experienced team can advise while always keeping the wellbeing of our legal clients’ staff front of mind. By letting technology take some of the strain, our aim is to release valuable time to enable conveyancers to concentrate on case work and our friendly, knowledgeable team are always happy to discuss how technology could help during these challenging times.”