Multinational legal business Pinsent Masons has rolled out its Mindful Business Charter across its Scottish offices as it attempts to eradicate negative working practices that can impact mental health and wellbeing.

The charter, devised by Pinsent Masons, Barclays and Addleshaw Goddard, sets out a shared agenda for reducing unnecessary causes of stress and pressure in the workplace, thereby ensuring higher team performances.

Each signatory committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods, and considerate delegation of tasks and management of deadlines. Performance against these principles is monitored as part of relationship review meetings between banks and the financial services legal teams.

Over the last 18 months, Pinsent Masons has rolled out the charter across a number of its global teams and has now asked its entire UK workforce, including Scottish staff in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, to pledge to the charter and follow its principles.

Commitments include providing appropriate team cover so individuals are not interrupted during holiday or on non-working days, being open to push-back on unrealistic deadlines, and hosting regular "speak your mind" sessions in which teams are encouraged to highlight concerns or practices which might impact on wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2018 a total of 54 institutions, law firms and corporates have signed up to the charter. 

Senior partner Richard Foley commented: "The mental health and wellbeing of our people has firmly been on the agenda for many years now and all the evidence suggests that properly rested, valued and respected teams will perform better. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to support our colleagues and clients as we all grapple with the reality of working through the lockdown. These are tough times for a multitude of personal and professional reasons, and recognising and responding to this is crucial to sustaining wellbeing and maintaining performance.

 "The MBC rollout sends a powerful message to everyone that they shouldn't compromise their mental health as they seek to adjust to the new norm, juggling work and family commitments and dealing with the personal impact of the pandemic."

He added: "As an agile business we were prepared from a practical and tech perspective to swiftly respond to the lockdown and have the majority of our people work from home immediately.

"While this is positive from a business continuity perspective, we cannot ignore the impact that this sudden shift in daily life will have as many work irregular or longer hours attempting to combine the responsibilities of work and home life. We need everyone at all levels of the business to recognise that maintaining your health and wellbeing is critical, and negative working practices that inhibit that need to be addressed.

"The charter is about reducing the unnecessary cause of stress and pressure. It’s about open and sensible conversations. Ultimately it's about high-performance and about engaging with our clients about the benefits this will bring to them and us."