Law firm Freshfields’ approach to supporting good mental health is to minimise unnecessary stress and teach people how to handle the inevitable pressure of working in a demanding environment.
Freshfields has a number of initiatives to support good mental health. People managers are coached in how to build resilient teams and taught to recognise the early signs of a team member drifting ‘off track’ — which can be a precursor to becoming mentally ill. Such sessions also offer practical guidance on how to deal with colleagues who are showing signs of stress.
A psychologist runs seminars on steps staff can take to build their resilience and manage everyday pressures, and this is supplemented by an online resilience enhancement programme offering tailored advice. A doctor who specialises in preventative and nutritional medicine runs workshops on what to eat to boost energy and effectiveness. An interactive health kiosk gives people the chance to take a quick confidential snapshot of their physical and mental health, and an online tool provides information and advice on health, nutrition, fitness and mindset.
There is also an EAP, a dedicated wellbeing intranet page and occupational health team assessment as and when required.
John Blain, Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, says: “We recognise that the demands of working at Freshfields can, at times, be challenging. It is important that the unnecessary pressures are minimised and that the inevitable pressures are handled well, by individuals and by our leaders. The wellbeing and satisfaction of those who work here is central to the fulfilment of our strategy, and the ability to provide the quality service to clients for which Freshfields has become synonymous.”