Family first, a principle of work life balance
Golbey Law is guided by purpose with over 20 years of experience- practicing law, advising entrepreneurs and being entrepreneurs. Katie Golbey, Director of Community shared with us their secrets to keeping their team healthy and how they’ve been able to stand out as a unique law firm.
What advice would you give to a workplace to convince them of the benefits of workplace health and wellness?
We believe that employees are healthier and happier when they are more connected. Since creating a healthy workplace, we have noticed an increase in employee productivity and creativity as well as improved client experiences. Before my husband and I started the journey of Golbey Law, 9 years ago, my husband was working for a large law firm. The culture of law firms can cause burnout and increased absenteeism, often with a focus solely on billable hours. We both came to the agreement that we wanted to measure our happiness based on creating a healthy life and work life balance. Golbey Law was then born from the ground up with a focus on a work environment that promotes health and balanced living. At our firm, we believe that work life balance must be a priority. That is why we created the Family First policy. For example, one of our staff who is caring for a family member with cancer can take hours off during the day to attend medial appointments. So long as they make sure their work is covered, they don’t need to count this as holiday time, and they don’t need to go through a process to get our consent. We want our team members to feel supported.
Have you encountered any challenges in implementing workplace health and wellness? If so, how did you approach them?
When creating Golbey law we made health and wellness a core value. Since all decisions and policies must be in line with core values, this ensured it became part of our workplace culture. The one thing we knew that could be challenging is the cost of the program we wanted to create. We provide a free healthy lunch with fresh salads every day for all of our team. This gives us the opportunity to eat lunch together and the free flow of ideas this fosters improves our productivity and overall happiness.
How does the social atmosphere and culture of your workplace support health and wellness?
Super important! During our renovations last year, we took all of this into account to ensure health and wellness would be a part of our ambient environment. Most law offices have a conventional layout with the receptionist in the front, the lawyers in the back, and a staff room wherever it fits. This creates a very corporate feel and can segregate employees. Our new office is an open floor concept with a boardroom that opens into a large kitchen, right at the front. The kitchen connects everyone in the office and team members rarely leave the office to grab an unhealthy alternative. Instead, we can make our lunches together on the huge kitchen island. Lawyers and team members are all together preparing salads, sharing conversations and giving advice on cooking. We are proud of the welcoming and non-conventional environment we have created with our new office. Just like at home, people congregate in the kitchen.
What is your favourite workplace wellness initiative or campaign?
Our lunch program is one of my favorites. We also practice corporate social impact in forms of philanthropy. Golbey Law offers free notarization services to new immigrant refugees. This gives us the opportunity to give back to the community and this little contribution makes a huge difference in the lives of those refugees and their families. Every quarter, we also participate in a 30-minute guided meditation together led by our instructor Leah Morrison. This mindfulness initiative brings everyone together and focuses on reducing stress and burnout. Last but not least, twice a month (on Thursdays), we close our office early and enjoy a glass of wine together.