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The Lawyer Assistance Program is available to all lawyers in Maryland and is committed to providing free, confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, and law school students by offering virtual or in-person assessment, referral, short-term counseling, and continued support to ensure long term success. We offer a network of counselors that can assist you no matter what state you are living in. Everyone experiences personal problems, and early intervention is the key to resolving these concerns. If you are concerned about another lawyer you can make an anonymous referral to the Lawyer Assistance Program. The Lawyer Assistance Program offers financial assistance for Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment.
As courts begin to reopen, mask mandates are lifted, and people ease back into pre-pandemic behavior, attorneys across the State are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Not everyone is eager to resume “normal” work practices, however, and the thought of returning to work has caused some practitioners to experience increased anxiety.
According to Robert Half, a staffing firm that services companies throughout Maryland and the rest of the country, in March 2021, approximately 25% of workers reported they would prefer to work remotely going forward. Some people went as far as to say they would be willing to accept a reduced salary if they were permitted to remain remote. Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Prudential Insurance indicated that over 40% of people currently working remotely would look for new positions if their employers decline to offer them options to continue to work remotely long term.
Some people hesitate to avoid returning to the office due to practical reasons, like the ability to multitask at home and avoid the long commutes they suffered prior to the pandemic. For others, anxiety and health concerns prevent them from resuming in-office work.
For example, some attorneys are concerned that not enough of their co-workers have received the vaccine to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, and by returning to the office they will be placing their health in jeopardy. Others are hesitant to receive the vaccine and fear that they will be forced to grapple with vaccine mandates from their employers. Additionally, many lawyers are worried not only about the risk of contracting COVID-19 but also about germs in general. Many people found that they were able to avoid the flu, colds, and other illness during their pandemic-driven isolation, and they fear that a return to the office will negatively impact their health.
Others are reluctant to return to the office due to social anxieties. They may have gained weight since last spring and are worried about their appearance. People who are introverted by nature may fear having to resume regular interaction with others. Asian-Americans have also expressed concerns that they will be victims of racially motivated attacks if they routinely have to go into cities and office environments.
There are measures both employers and their employees can take to mitigate their anxieties. Employees can speak to their employers about the option of remaining at home for a longer duration or developing a hybrid work format that allows them to work from home the majority of the time. Employers should consider adopting hybrid work models, hoteling offices, or modifying office spaces to accommodate requests for greater separation between employees and minimal close contact.
Employees should also consider acknowledging their stressors and easing into re-entry, and employers can facilitate the transition back into office work with programs addressing what to expect going forward.