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08 Jul 2021

Linklaters rolls out workplace wellbeing app to UK staff

The Global Legal Post

Linklaters has partnered up with UK startup BetterSpace to introduce a workplace wellbeing app aimed at providing accessible and sustainable tools for its UK employees to best look after their mental health. 

The AI-powered platform will be available for the Magic Circle firm’s UK workforce, and will be accompanied by a £300 ‘wellbeing allowance’, which the firm said can be used in conjunction with the app to support employees in finding ‘personally relevant’ mental health-related tools and resources. 

Employees will gain access to the platform’s directory of in-person and virtual mental wellbeing services related to different aspects of mental health, including sleep and mindfulness apps, digital coaches for fitness activities, and access to volunteering opportunities. 

The firm said fostering a ‘mentally healthy workforce’ is a priority objective for the firm as part of its wider health and wellbeing strategy

Nick Syson, Linklaters’ health and wellbeing partner, added: “It is more important than ever that we nurture our physical and mental wellbeing and we hope that the BetterSpace app will support our people in doing just that. We are proud of our culture of being open, positive and proactive about mental health and to be championing the next frontier in employee wellbeing support.”

Linklaters has previously hosted two pilots of BetterSpace’s app during its development stages after the startup took shape in 2018. Following the completion of the second pilot in 2020, 91% of the 336 participating employees in the firm’s London and Colchester offices asked for the firm’s relationship with BetterSpace to continue, giving way to the formal partnership. 

A few of the most popular resources during the second pilot included Alltrails, an app providing a collection of hiking, running and mountain bike trails, as well as Ted Talks and a daily yoga app. 

Jim Woods, CEO of BetterSpace, emphasised the app’s approach to mental health hinges on the lack of a “one size fits all” solution to mental wellbeing. 

Other firms offering similar wellbeing apps to their lawyers and staff include Slaughter & May, Taylor Wessing and Eversheds Sutherland. 

The issue of mental health in the legal industry has come under a harsh spotlight as a result of the pandemic, with forced remote working and surging workloads leading to burnout and other mental health concerns, particularly among younger lawyers. 

In April, Crowell & Moring, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Reed Smith became the founding members of the Institute for Well-Being in Law, an organisation designed to promote well-being in the legal industry and ensure that it is seen as an essential component of personal and professional success. 

The non-profit organisation, launched by the US-based National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, seeks to incite ‘systemic change’ in the legal profession by tackling issues around mental health, stress and substance abuse and addiction. 

Meanwhile, a Global Legal Post survey earlier this year showed that while a majority of respondents believed a permanent shift to home working would improve work life balance, more than a third were worried that it could lead to deterioration in mental health and well-being.

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