While you might not be able to think of a profession where more
behind time - sitting at a desk, typing on a computer, writing legal briefs, talking on the phone - occurs than that of law firm, attorneys and staff at GrayRobinson are doing their best to buck the trend.
We do quite a bit of running around to client locations, the courthouse, other attorneys’ offices and to attend family activities so we are not completely sedentary, says Colleen Fitzgerald, shareholder in the Tampa office of GrayRobinson,
but it is not as if we are working out at a gym. There is definitely room for improvement.
In an effort to increase mobility and improve her overall health, Fitzgerald joined 15 other employees in the Tampa office of GrayRobinson in purchasing standing desks or treadmill desks for their offices. While motivation for purchasing the equipment varies from person to person, generally employees have the same goal in mind: improve health and improve productivity.
The Law Firm’s workplace wellness efforts began with a small group of people interested in promoting healthier choices throughout GrayRobinson’s 13-office Florida footprint. Currently, the Firm has developed more formalized wellness programs in three of its offices: Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Melbourne, while firm-wide wellness offerings include complementary flu shots for all employees and annual complementary seminars focusing on wellness. Some of GrayRobinson’s offices offer biometric screenings, quarterly “lunch ‘n learns” focusing on health and wellness, and readily-accessible health coaches for Firm participants. The various offices promote workplace wellness through other activities such as smoking cessation programs, subsidized gym memberships, healthy recipe contests, team participation in local charitable runs and walks, and fitness goal challenges.
A surprising addition to the overall workplace wellness efforts of the Law Firm was interest in the use of the stand-up and treadmill desks.
We initially had one or two people requesting the standing desk and in no time we were getting requests from all over the state. Word caught on quickly and I believe at this point we have standing and/or treadmill workspaces in nearly all of our 13 offices, says MaryEllen Noris-Adams, Human Resources Director at GrayRobinson.
The Firm splits the cost of the standing desks with employees. Treadmill desk owners pay for their own equipment and the Firm wholeheartedly supports the use of these alternative workstations.
Research tells us that sitting still for too long can have a negative impact on your health and frankly – many of our folks think better on their feet, Noris-Adams comments.
Woody Pollack, also a shareholder in the Tampa office of GrayRobinson, has been using a standup desk for over two years after experiencing some lower back pain.
It has really helped. I don’t think I have sat in a desk chair for two and a half years, says Pollack.
While health and wellness are buzzwords in many industries and workplaces these days, law firms are typically not a place where you will find particularly progressive trends. GrayRobinson finds the wellness of their employees to be an advantage even in the development of business relationships with their clients.
It’s become evident to us that the fast-paced business world is not going to wait around for lawyers to catch up. Law firms need to help pave the way for innovation, fresh ideas and modern business practices. At GrayRobinson, we work on being flexible with our clients, transparent in our work and our processes, and supportive of our communities, both around the state of Florida and within the walls of GR. It’s really a reflection of that, which is seen in the more cutting-edge workspaces and health initiatives, says Pallas Knight, Business Development Director at GrayRobinson.
While excessive hours behind the desk may be the way for professional service firms of the past, GrayRobinson is continuously in motion – both in the way they practice law and in the way they use their workspace.
Attorney Colleen Fitzgerald is a shareholder in the Tampa law office of GrayRobinson. She has experience in litigation, with an emphasis in commercial and securities litigation and arbitration proceedings. Her experience includes representation of securities industry clients including broker-dealers, registered representatives, financial planners and investment advisors in arbitration proceedings conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the American Arbitration Association, as well as in state and federal courts. Additionally, Colleen represents securities industry clients in connection with investigations and administrative proceedings initiated by state, federal and self-regulatory agencies and organizations.
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