Hogan Lovells signs Mindful Business Charter committing to better working practices for mental health and wellbeing

Hogan Lovells is one of the first law firms to become a signatory to the Mindful Business Charter, representing a collective commitment to change avoidable working practices that can cause mental health and wellbeing issues for employees.

The Charter, developed by Barclays and law firms Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons, is the first time banks and their legal services providers have come together to reach a shared agenda for mental health wellbeing.

At a signing event today, Hogan Lovells accompanies HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and law firms Clifford Chance, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Eversheds Sutherland, and Simmons & Simmons in a joint commitment to abide by a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for working hours and considerate delegation of tasks. Performance against these principles will be monitored as part of a standing agenda item during review meetings.

In signing the Charter, Hogan Lovells pledges to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter.

Susan Bright, Managing Partner of Hogan Lovells in the UK and Africa, said:

"The health and wellbeing of our people is a key priority for us and we regularly review what further support we can provide. The Mindful Business charter is a unique opportunity to team up with our clients to agree a better way of working together, without compromising on the quality of service. Initiatives such as this are an important step forward in trying to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety in day to day working practices, aimed at empowering those who have signed up the Charter to have a more flexible and considered approach to deadlines and communication wherever possible. This complements other mental health and wellbeing support we provide at Hogan Lovells, such as our onsite counsellor, GP service, Employee Assistance Programme and the recent introduction of 'Respect Advocates', who provide support and guidance for anyone in the firm who would like to speak confidentially about any issues relating to bullying and harassment."

Speaking on behalf of the founding group, Philip Aiken, Managing Director at Barclays said:

"The wholehearted engagement of Hogan Lovells with the Charter demonstrates its passion and belief in inspiring positive change. The take-up from so many of our banking and legal counterparts shows the power of collaboration and we hope that in time these principles will be applied in all organisations across all sectors."

The Charter has the support of mental health charity Mind, the Law Society, Law Care and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said:

“We welcome the launch of the Mindful Business Charter which sets out key principles to help employers tackle avoidable causes of stress and poor mental health at work. It’s positive to see so many employers already on board. Experiencing poor mental health at work is really common regardless of the kind of role you do, but if you work in the legal sector, there are particular factors that could put you at greater risk of developing a mental health problem. Things like long working hours, excessive workload and challenging relationships with colleagues and clients come up time and time again as sources of stress that could be reduced.

“This Charter acknowledges that changing working cultures won’t happen overnight but it’s a step in the right direction – recognising some of the factors that can impact on staff mental health and committing to tackling them within their organisation. Employers are increasingly striving to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees. After all, those that put in place measures such as flexible working hours, generous annual leave, subsidised exercise classes and regular catch ups with colleagues will see greater staff morale, productivity and reduced sickness absence. It’s now been a year since the ‘Thriving at Work’ review made recommendations to help employers support their staff to stay mentally well and flourish in work. The Government accepted all these standards, and now employers are rightly following suit. It’s great to see workplace wellbeing beginning to get the priority it deserves within the City and beyond.”

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