Depression, anxiety and poor mental health caused by work-related stress are a concern across the sector, a leading cause of sickness absence in many law firms and a growing reason for attrition.
Our view is that, while a certain level of stress is to be expected in our profession, some of the stress which our people experience is self-inflicted and avoidable.
Initially a collaboration between Barclays, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons, we believe that the Mindful Business Charter has wide application and have had conversations with lawyers and clients across the globe who are battling with the same issues.
The aim of the Charter is not to eradicate workplace stress, but to reduce stresses caused by poor working practices, lack of planning and communication, and poor people management. It also aims to re-establish some of the boundaries between our personal and professional lives which may have been eroded with the advent of technology, enabling us to be available 24/7, and the increasingly competitive and global marketplace in which we operate.
The Charter is a universal set of common sense principles, and at AG we are applying the Charter in our dealings internally with our people and with our clients who have signed up. It is the Charter's bilateral nature – bringing together client and legal services supplier – which makes it both unique and powerful.
The momentum is growing and one year after launch there are 38 signatories, including the legal teams at eight banks and corporates.