At Linklaters our approach to Health and Wellbeing in its’ current form started in October 2013 when we ran a successful three week H&W programme in our London and Colchester offices focusing specifically on mental health and resilience.
This coincided with Linklaters taking a key leadership role in the creation of the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), whose aim is to promote awareness of the importance of mental health to business success and create a culture in the City that will nurture good mental health as part of good business practice. Linklaters was hosting the launch event of CMHA and we recognised the need to align any externally facing H&W activity with what we offer and communicate internally to our people.
A cross-functional team including HR, internal communications, the in-house fitness centre, catering team and in-house medical centre worked collaboratively to design and deliver a programme of events to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health and provide our people with practical tips to manage busy working lives and build resilience. The activities on offer took a holistic approach to mental health and also included topics such as sleep, nutrition and exercise.
At the same time, our global Health and Strategy was finalised, with a clear reference to the importance of good physical and mental health.
Following on from the success of our mental health and resilience programme we wanted to maintain momentum around health and wellbeing but recognised that we needed to introduce some structure and governance to ensure a sustainable programme. We therefore began to explore ideas for a more structured approach to our health and wellbeing activities. Following endorsement and support from the leadership committees in London (Partners and Directors), in April 2014 we launched a forward-looking H&W programme structured around a quarterly wellbeing theme and a monthly topic covering all aspects of our health and wellbeing, to ensure we take a holistic approach to physical and mental health and wellbeing. The programme has continued to be a success and has captured the imagination of the leadership of the firm and our people. In a relatively short period of time, health and wellbeing has become a key deliverable not only in the global HR strategy, but in the overall firmwide strategy.
To maintain a clear focus on the importance of good mental health, the month of October will always focus on mental health, with a targeted mental health and resilience campaign. This coincides with World Mental Health Day and the anniversary of the City Mental Health Alliance.
Across Linklaters we have recently established a Global H&W network, which allows those responsible for H&W in each of our offices to regularly share details of what has been taking place locally . This allows offices earlier on in the H&W journey to get ideas for what they can do. In October 2015 a number of our offices are doing something to celebrate World Mental Health Day, and a global communication will be sent out from our Senior Partner to acknowledge the day and re-emphasise the firm’s commitment to supporting the mental health of our people.
Our strategy aims to help our people to take responsibility for their own physical and mental health, but also to guide our Partners and leaders to support the health and wellbeing of people in their teams and recognise and address the signs of ill health (mental and physical). With this in mind we have run a number of partner only sessions in the UK, as well as a session on ‘Building Resilience’ with clinical psychologist Bill Mitchell at our global partners’ meeting in 2014. In October 2014 we ran Mental Health First Aid training for a number of line managers within Business Services.