Come On Over: Eversheds Sutherland creates app to promote employee togetherness
April 30, 2020
2 min read
What's going on here?
With the world in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and all non-essential employees forced to work from home, international law firm Eversheds Sutherland has created an app for its employees to promote a sense of togetherness in these tough times.
What does this mean?
Eversheds Sutherland is no stranger to wellbeing and mental health initiatives. In the past the firm has taken part in “bring your dog to work” days, as well as notably signing on to the Mindful Business Charter in late 2018. Similarly, many other law firms have begun to take mental health and wellbeing of their employees more seriously, with firms such as Slaughter & May and Taylor Wessing making use of existing mental health apps to support their employees. However, with the added pressure of being in isolation, Eversheds Sutherland has launched a new internal app to provide an alternative method for its employees to keep in touch whilst they are isolated.
The app presently has 7 distinct “threads” on a range of different topics, such as useful wellness information, hobbies and a KidZone. It is hoped that more features (including tagging and notifications) are soon to be released, following the positive feedback the app has received from employees so far. The firm’s International Managing Partner, Keith Froud said that Open House “was about creating a sense of community and camaraderie” and the firm “wanted to help by providing a forum for those conversations”.
What's the big picture effect?
In the past few years, the legal profession as a whole has been taking steps to address the mounting problem of workplace practices and cultures on their employees’ mental health. The 2017 Stevenson Farmer review (an independent review of mental health in businesses) marked out law as an area that was “surviving but not thriving” and subsequent reports and commentators have noted that many initiatives simply “tick boxes” rather than taking steps to change the culture that causes the issue. Similarly, noted academic Professor Ed Bullmore (Head of the Cambridge University Psychiatry department) has said that COVID “is likely to have major impacts on mental health now and into the future”. Combining these two issues, the risk to lawyers isolated but still working is clear to see. As such, an initiative such as Open House, which gives lawyers an informal space to connect with each other and unwind (and even look at pictures of each other’s pets!) is a step in the right direction to promote the mental health of Eversheds Sutherland’s employees.
Report written by Hari Majumdar
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