Australia: Well­ness is core to our philosophy
Last Updated: 27 May 2019

At Swaab, we are pas­sion­ate and com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing and fos­ter­ing the well­ness of our peo­ple and our clients.

Our phi­los­o­phy is that we employ the "whole per­son" not just the lawyer, the sup­port per­son or the man­ag­er. Our staff are peo­ple first and fore­most. The days of expect­ing peo­ple to leave their per­son­al lives at the door are gone. It is inap­pro­pri­ate to expect peo­ple to take phone calls and respond to emails after busi­ness hours and on the week­end and to "keep on top of their email" whilst on annu­al leave and then not expect peo­ple will need to bring some of per­son­al life into the work­place. In fact, at Swaab, we encour­age our peo­ple to bring their whole self to work. This enables us to be a bet­ter employ­er: to fos­ter hap­pi­ness in our peo­ple, to bet­ter under­stand our peo­ple, to sup­port or facil­i­tate sup­port from appro­pri­ate resources (if need­ed) and to cre­ate a sense of fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty through­out our firm.

Whilst I con­sid­er it is my oblig­a­tion to lead Swaab's pas­sion and com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing and fos­ter­ing well­ness, the major­i­ty of our peo­ple are along­side me on this ini­tia­tive and in fact, sug­gest many of the well­ness ini­tia­tives we have imple­ment­ed across the firm over the last 5 years.

When I became Man­ag­ing Part­ner in 2014 we imple­ment­ed the Swaab Brand of Ser­vice, as a frame­work for behav­iour. It serves as a reminder to all of us about how we inter­act and respond to each oth­er both inside and out­side our firm. Every­one has embraced the phi­los­o­phy and it is cer­tain­ly set­ting an even high­er stan­dard of ser­vice – we meet our colleague's needs as well as meet­ing the needs of our clients.

In recent months:

  • we have held a num­ber of work­shops with our peo­ple to deter­mine the top five Minds Count Foun­da­tion psy­cho­log­i­cal well-being guide­lines we as a firm would like to focus on for 2019
  • we have gath­ered feed­back and work-shopped prac­ti­cal ways to ensure we main­tain our fan­tas­tic cul­ture, fos­ter well­ness and facil­i­tate a pos­i­tive employ­ee expe­ri­ence at Swaab
  • we have over­hauled some of our own inter­nal ref­er­ences to ensure we are pro­mot­ing good and healthy liv­ing and lifestyle
  • I have spo­ken open­ing­ly in a CLE forum about our well­ness ini­tia­tives we have rolled out at Swaab, what has worked and what has not worked as well as we might have hoped
  • I have become a WGEA Pay Equi­ty Ambas­sador, hav­ing signed the pledge to com­mit to improv­ing gen­der equality
  • I have giv­en an inter­view (soon to be pub­lished on Bench TV) of my own per­son­al reflec­tion regard­ing well­ness in my own career over the last 18 years.

Shar­ing knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence regard­ing well­ness is very pow­er­ful because it is still a con­cept that car­ries a stig­ma and with which pock­ets of our indus­try have to get com­fort­able. In the law, we have come a long way since the incep­tion of Minds Count Foun­da­tion (for­mer­ly known as the Tris­tan Jep­son Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion). How­ev­er, we still have a way to go – and approach­ing this issue as a col­lec­tive, rather than a com­pe­ti­tion, will deliv­er a much more robust, cred­i­ble and account­able plat­form for well­ness in the law.

I love to talk to peo­ple about well­ness, whether it is in the legal pro­fes­sion or in anoth­er pro­fes­sion. If you want to dis­cuss well­ness with me, I am only a phone call away and would love to chat.

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