Conference focuses on wellbeing in the workplace

Members of Ashtons Legal HR consulting team at the Ashtons and Hays annual employment conference. Pi

Members of Ashtons Legal HR consulting team at the Ashtons and Hays annual employment conference. Picture: Ashtons Legal. - Credit: Ashtons Legal

How to improve wellbeing in the workplace was the focus of an annual employment conference which was held during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Among the topics of discussion at the Ashtons and Hays Annual Employment Conference were whether gender pay gap reporting legislation had been effective and how to look after employees' wellness.

The event, which was held at Center Parcs in Elveden Forest, was attended by more than 100 delegates from the legal and HR professions.

Antony Sloan, head of HR at Ashtons Legal, said: 'As an organisation – and as just individuals operating in modern society – stress is one of the biggest factors on our health, yet mental health concerns are still often taboo.

'One in six members of the UK workforce experiences stress, anxiety or depression, yet worryingly 19% of staff feel that they are unable to speak to managers about how they are feeling.'

Speakers included Susanna Frost, HR director of Fred Olsen, who challenged the extent to which gender pay gap reporting was having the intended outcome as well as Ashtons Legal partner Claire Sleep who spoke about harassment alongside Outer Temple Chambers barrister Saul Margo.

There were also masterclasses on wellness, the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and agile working.

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Mr Sloan added the firm, which has offices across Norfolk and Suffolk including in Noriwch, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Thetford, had been teaching staff about wellbeing techniques to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

He said: 'As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ashtons Legal have been sharing with staff the 'five steps to wellbeing' as researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation.

'The report suggests we take the time to connect with the people around us, stay active, take notice of our surroundings, keep learning and develop new skills and give our time others.

'By incorporating these into our lives we will feel a sense of wellbeing which is something here at Ashtons we see as crucial to our good health.'