Park Square Barristers (‘PSQB’) is aware of the importance of promoting good mental and physical health as members, pupils and staff work under tremendous pressure. They believe it is in Chambers’ best interest to ensure that members and staff feel cared for and valued.
PSQB believe that any focus on wellbeing will also have the added benefit of supporting retention and will help its members work at a capacity that is right for them (performing better as a result).
Overall, Chambers wanted their wellbeing strategy and work to:
- Reduce absence of members and staff due to ill health, stress or fatigue with their jobs;
- Retain staff and members through increasing their wellbeing through strengthening their relationships and links within Chambers.
- Promote Chambers by demonstrating they care for their members and staff wellbeing; and
- Be regarded as a set of Chambers that was actively aware of the pressures and stresses on the profession.
What steps are being taken?
Access to a therapist
Chambers has made the advice of a therapist available to members, staff and pupils via a confidential hotline, paid for by Chambers. This was the launch pad for discussing and dramatically extending PSQB’s wellbeing programme of activity.
The Budget has been made to support access to a therapist (hotline) and other initiatives.
Raising awareness and support in teams
PSQB have raised awareness within Chambers of the importance of wellbeing. Specific teams have allocated wellbeing representatives to ensure that assistance is provided, with a structure in place within each team.
There is a drive to mentor those returning to work from periods of absence, for example maternity leave or periods of ill health or bereavement.
Chambers has also:
- Started Pilates sessions (their wellbeing budget funds this for members and staff)
- Arranged massage and reflexology therapists to attend Chambers so people can have treatment at a time and place convenient to them
- Put in place social activities every two months arranged by different members of staff and members tailored to different tastes and interests e.g. countryside seasonal walks at the weekend
- Booking a mindfulness therapist (offered early 2019) to run a 6 week course in chambers
- Taken over a local ParkRun
What were the results?
PSQB has found the response and take up of wellbeing initiatives has been positive. In particular, the extent of uptake of the hotline. This demonstrated a real need for the service amongst staff and members.
Provision of budget to support activity has also been welcomed.
Several members of Chambers who had taken periods of time away from the profession due to personal circumstances have particularly appreciated the support that Chambers is now providing them in returning to work.
Chambers has also:
- Already received applications to chambers directly linked to their progressive attitude towards issues like wellbeing, and;
- Chambers’ solicitor clients have been impressed by Chambers’ approach to these issues