As reported in this newspaper and other legal media, law firms have implemented various initiatives to try to convince employees to return to their offices. Some law firms offered free meals and other perks, while other firms simply forced lawyers and staff back to their offices or face negative employment consequences. Since such explicit return-to-work policies are not popular, law firms should focus on providing benefits and other resources that make it easier for lawyers and staff to return to offices. Assuming law firms have the space and resources, stores should consider having gyms in their offices to help convince lawyers to return to work.
I admit that having a gym in a law firm is quite rare. In fact, I’ve never worked at a company that had an in-house fitness center (although I’ve worked at stores that had gyms nearby that employees could use for free or at a discount). However, I interviewed at a law firm that had a gym in their office.
Back when I was in 2L at law school, I did a number of encores for summer associate gigs in suburban New Jersey. I was visiting one of the firms, and the office looked like the dozens of other law firms I had visited. However, the guide then took me to the law firm’s gymnasium, located just off the main row of offices on the ground floor of the firm’s building.
The gym was relatively large, maybe the size of a fitness center in a tall building. There were free weights, benches, and exercise machines that seemed relatively new. Inside the gym, two lawyers were pumping iron and one of the lawyers spotted the other. The two were talking shop, but I don’t know if they were charging for the conversation or not! The tour guide said the office has a few private bathrooms that include showers, so people can freshen up after the gym if they want.
After seeing this gym, I expected that many law firms would have fitness centers where lawyers and staff could work out, but I have never come across another law firm gym. lawyers throughout my career. Law firms often have large offices that sometimes span multiple floors. These offices can include cafeterias, media rooms and all kinds of amenities. However, it seems that most law firms, even the biggest ones, don’t have a gym in their offices.
Creating a fitness center in a law firm can have many benefits. First, and I’m no health expert, but having a fitness center can probably improve the health and lives of employees. Many people don’t exercise enough, probably because they don’t have access to a gym or don’t have the time to get there and work out. It can not only affect a person’s general health, but also their mood and productivity. However, if employees had a gym in their office, it would be easier to go there and those employees would realize all the health and life benefits of exercise.
Having a gym in a law firm can also improve team cohesion within a firm. As mentioned earlier, I saw a few lawyers befriending each other at the gymnasium of the law firm I visited, and communicating with colleagues in a more casual setting is important to have the best collaboration. A gym can provide this benefit as the employees who use it have a common mission to work out and can even participate in group classes etc. which can increase teamwork and working relationships. more explicitly.
Additionally, having a gym in a law office could entice employees to return to their offices. Many employees have to go to a gym several times a week to work out, and depending on where they live and where their gym is located, this can take a long time. I’m willing to bet that some lawyers and staff will go to the office more if offices have gyms because they can “kill two birds with one stone” by going to work and exercising. Sure, some people aren’t interested in exercise, but those who are might be more willing to be in an office if a fitness center is too.
Of course, there are many practical considerations that law firms must weigh when deciding whether to open a gym in a law office. Gyms must be properly maintained and law firms must ensure lawyers and staff are safe when using fitness equipment. However, for law firms with enough space and resources, having a fitness center in the office can be a great way to encourage people to come back to work and promote employee health.
Jordan Rothman is a partner at The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service law firm in New York and New Jersey. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website detailing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan by email at [email protected]