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Guildhall Chambers

This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, increasing awareness of wellbeing, developing resilience training schemes and/or promoting wellbeing initiatives.

Guildhall Chambers’ EDOs have worked hard to ensure that Wellbeing initiatives are fully integrated into existing Chambers’ policies and members and staff are offered access to a range of initiatives backed up by mentoring.

What was the business (other case) for action?

Guildhall Chambers has long been aware of the increasing demand and pressures on Members, and has sought to meet that with good E&D and flexible working policies, as well as a generally friendly and supportive approach to issues faced by members. Overall, they think this has worked well. They welcomed the Bar Council/Wellbeing at the Bar guidance as it prompted them to incorporate existing work creating a more transparent and structured approach.

 

They – and now their policies – recognise the importance of wellbeing for the following reasons;

• Financial (reducing sickness at work)

• Professional (helping more junior members find their feet in their work, through mentoring)

• Duty of Care (in an increasingly demanding work environment, Chambers believes it has a duty to its Members to support them and make Chambers a supportive and enjoyable place to work, where they thrive in community, rather than simply survive by themselves).

What did the Chambers do?

 Guildhall Chambers took the following actions regarding Wellbeing:

1. Published their Wellbeing Policy based on the sample policy on the Wellbeing website but adapted to suit their needs and circumstances
2. Increased Wellbeing Awareness (their policy was published on their intranet with several humorous and positive emails circulated)
3. Introduced Wellbeing Activities; Massage sessions in Chambers; Members sponsored walks; regular Chambers’ female drinks/socials (initiatives either for simple relaxation and social bonding) etc
4. Introduced a specific Mentoring Policy/Scheme for all members beyond the pre-existing mentoring for junior members with a mentoring training/seminar to support mentoring development
5. Offered a Health Insurance scheme for staff*

What were the results?

  • They have 18 Members who have now signed up as available mentors on the ‘Mentor Scheme’, with successful pairings now in place, and with still more Members engaging with the scheme.
  • The Wellbeing Scheme has initiated further conversations about how to make Chambers an increasingly supportive working environment.
  • The increased socials for the women in Chambers has also opened greater conversation and strengthened the support network for women in Chambers. Meet-ups naturally involve Members sharing the difficulties and positives from their professional lives in an informal environment. This has helped women from across all specialisms and all years of call feel connected and have the reassurance that they have a space to exchange views and explore new ideas.
  • The Health Insurance for staff is also a new initiative this year. It both shows the staff Chambers’ support and care for them, while also ensuring that sick days are limited where possible.

“Guildhall Chambers has embraced wellbeing, taking advantage of advice and sample policies available on the Wellbeing website to bring existing policies and practices under a wellbeing umbrella. Having built a strong case for action, they have taken a holistic approach with well-considered initiatives, backed up by an impressive investment in mentoring.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

Tips

  • Spread the load; Delegate wellbeing initiatives and policy guidelines appropriately so that the workload is balanced and manageable.

The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.


Get in touch Policy & practice

It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.

A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’

Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about