Focusing on Wellbeing in the Conveyancing World

Mon 11 Mar 2024

Michelle Timms

Product Manager / Property Law Tutor

Michelle Timms is a qualified Licensed Conveyancer with almost 20 years of industry experience. Her previous roles include Legal Director of a busy conveyancing firm and a teacher of Diplomas in Conveyancing Law and Practice. In her present role at MOL, Michelle spends her time shaping an exceptional learning experience for aspiring conveyancers and estate agents. From strategic planning to continuous improvement, Michelle prides herself in ensuring the highest standards in conveyancing and estate agency education.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen the world of work undergo massive changes. The world of conveyancing is no exception to this. We’ve seen people leave the profession because they were put on furlough and were struggling to make ends meet. Others left because they weren’t put on furlough and saw their workloads rise exponentially.

The stamp duty holiday in 2021 and the return of property viewings saw conveyancing work on the rise again…but with so many qualified conveyancers leaving the profession workloads increased even more, leading to delays to house sales and complaints from vendors and buyers alike.

So, with the Conveyancing Foundation revealing the results of their wellbeing survey this week, it’s not surprising to see that levels of stress are still high. A job that was already characterised by high workloads and pressure from clients demanding both fast work AND attention to detail has become even more stressful and the results reflect that:

  • 58% of respondents report that stress is ‘a constant factor in their work’ or report ‘a lot of stress with occasional moments of calm’
  • This figure rises to 72% for both conveyancers and estate agents
  • Levels of stress are higher for those who are 100% office-based for their work
  • Many feel that reducing workload and increasing administrative support is needed to combat the high stress levels.

There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. Several firms have already taken steps to improve the working environment and mental wellbeing of their employees. And overall, the survey finds that mental health in the property industry is better than it has been for the last three years.

Certain employers have started offering their staff enhanced benefits, such as increased annual leave, flexible working times and subsidised gym memberships to help conveyancers and support staff with their work-life balance, and to assist them in taking care of their mental health.

Some firms have even hired mental health mentors who are available to speak to staff during their working day, to assist with any concerns they have, to give them tips on how to manage stress, or just be there for someone to talk to.

In addition to this, there are also some firms championing the 4-day working week, hoping to generally boost employees’ overall wellbeing.

Another change, since the Covid lockdown, has been the increase in hybrid working. It has allowed people to continue to be employed at the same company but, in many circumstances, preventing staff from having to endure lengthy commutes and therefore they can spend more time with family and friends, or make their work-life fit better around their home life.

It seems, that although there has been stress in the industry, employers are learning from this and are doing their best to ensure that their staff are content in their work, and they are providing them with benefits and tools to ensure that they are a happier, healthier workforce.

Of course, there is a broader discussion on how to improve the profession, one that considers the pricing of services, efficiencies to be gained from working more closely with our colleagues in estate agencies, and how the digitisation might streamline processes such as anti-money laundering and providing ID.

However, until that happens, I suspect we’re going to find that the conveyancing firms that offer the most flexible approaches to work and provide the most support are going to be the firms that have, and retain, the happiest conveyancers.

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