Call for Kindness – what more can we do?

As Aconveyancing backs the Today’s Conveyancer Call for Kindness campaign, Director Natalie Moore writes about how the industry needs to turn support into action.

‘This global pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted problems that overstretched conveyancers experience as a result of firms undercutting on fees.’

High pressured, emotionally charged and enormous financial responsibility, conveyancers face stress from many angles, never mind the endless calls and emails we deal with throughout the day.  Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen gifted people burn-out and leave the industry altogether, to start afresh in other, less demanding careers.  It’s never going to be an easy job, but one of the first places to make change and improve stressful conditions is amongst ourselves.  Its time conveyancers are valued and treated with the respect they deserve from firms, this starts with a positive culture from the top down and across the industry as a whole.

This global pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted problems that overstretched conveyancers experience as a result of firms undercutting on fees.  Today’s Conveyancer’s Call for Kindness campaign marks a step-change in our industry, asking us to address the stressful conditions conveyancers are facing.  That’s amazing but if we recognise that change needs to happen, ‘liking and sharing’ is not enough.

It’s time for us to practice what we preach – what are you doing after you put your signature on that petition, or liked the Facebook post?  Perks like flexible working hours should no longer be a bonus – it’s not enough to just be flexible when we’re not addressing the core issues at hand, such as the amount of work each conveyancer has at any one time.

In one single day across the three Aconveyancing offices we take an average 548 calls and send 2,200 emails.  Using innovative technology, we can track this data closely to help manage the team’s workload.  If we are committed to both our staff and delivering the best service, taking these levels of communication into account is an important part of team management.

My biggest commitment to staff is assigning realistic caseloads to each fee earner which stops anyone finding themselves in a situation where they are overwhelmed.  It’s great to be busy, but not at the expense of making mistakes or the detriment of mental health.  Business owners often separate themselves from the wider team, to focus on company growth.    That’s understandable, but don’t forget how tough it is doing this job day-to-day.  Track hours closely, take on more support staff for fee earners, offer training opportunities to new talent.   It pays to invest in people.  It also pays to speak up.

Conveyancers – now is the time to speak out if you’re burning-out or not coping.  If you feel as though your workload is overwhelming, please don’t suffer in silence.  If you don’t raise the point, it won’t just go away. Speak to your employer because nothing can change until caseloads are revised and addressed.

Directors and company owners – the responsibility lies with us to listen to our staff, to give them the opportunity to speak up and be heard.  We need to do things differently and do them better to stop losing great people.  Conveyancers are in short demand and we can’t afford to lose more of us.

At Aconveyancing, we have recently been awarded the Investors in People accreditation, demonstrating our commitment to staff conditions and welfare.  It wasn’t an easy process to follow, we had to work hard to demonstrate we met the standards they expect but it acts as a benchmark for us to improve from.  We have clear goals we now want to achieve to make Aconveyancing a better place to work.  We have just opened our third office and as we grow quickly, it’s really important that we retain the same atmosphere that we did when it was a small office in my garage.

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