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

National law firm Weightmans has signed the Mindful Business Charter, joining a number of financial services businesses and law firms.

National law firm Weightmans has signed the Mindful Business Charter, joining a number of financial services businesses and law firms in a collective commitment to change the avoidable working practices that can affect employees' mental health and wellbeing.Sarah Dowd, Sarah-jane Howitt and Kieran Jones with a signed copy of the charter

The Charter brings banks' in-house legal teams and their legal advisers together to reach a shared agenda for mental health wellbeing. At an event marking six months since the Charter's launch, Weightmans has pledged its 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.

The Mindful Business Charter aims 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.
As part of Weightmans’ ongoing commitment towards ensuring its people have the right support, 51 people across the firm are fully trained mental health first aiders, with a further 64 qualified mental health first aid champions. The firm also provides a full employee assistance scheme which includes a free 24/7 counselling helpline and flexible working, with almost 60% of Weightmans’ offices now completely agile.

Sarah Dowd, Head of Knowledge Services and lead for mental health and wellbeing at Weightmans said:

“A career in the legal industry can incredibly challenging, with conflicting demands and ever-increasing expectations. Teamed with the improvement in digital communications, it is harder than ever to distinguish between home and working life, and our tendency to maintain a ‘stiff upper lip’ means we aren’t as open about any struggles as we should be.

 “Our people are our absolute priority, and signing this Charter further reinforces this commitment to preserving their mental health and wellbeing - and to remove the stigma around mental health completely. We look forward to working with other signatories to ensure we share best practice and create and maintain working environments which are respectful and productive for all.”

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

"Weightmans' wholehearted engagement 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 Regulatory Authority.

Pic caption L-R: Partner Sarah Dowd, Partner Sarah-Jane Howitt and Partner Kieran Jones