How Accountants Can Combat Work-Related Stress

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Allegra Nagler
Columnist
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Accountants who are having trouble “keeping calm and carrying on” at work are in good company.

According to a recent survey by staffing firm Accountemps, 52 percent of professionals said they are stressed at work on a day-to-day basis, and 60 percent reported their work-related pressure has increased over the past five years.

And their bosses have noticed: 54 percent of finance executives surveyed acknowledged their teams are stressed, and 55 percent said worker anxiety is on the rise.

Why? Reasons varied, but respondents cited heavy workloads and looming deadlines (33 percent), attaining work-life balance (22 percent), and unrealistic expectations of managers (22 percent) as their top worries.

“Business is moving faster than ever, and employees can feel the crunch when it comes to imminent deadlines,” Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps, said in a written statement. “Workers shouldn’t suffer in silence. They can tap internal resources for help or seek advice from their managers to ensure they meet work expectations while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.”

He added that a stressed-out employee can have a detrimental effect on the firm, including decreased morale and productivity, as well as increased burnout and turnover.

“Managers should look for signs their staff is overworked – like missed deadlines or excessive overtime – and talk to employees to pinpoint triggers and implement stress-relieving solutions,” Driscoll said.

The survey also revealed that younger professionals are feeling the heat the most. Sixty-four percent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 admitted to being stressed on the job, compared to 59 percent of workers ages 35 to 54 and 35 percent of workers ages 55 and older.

Slightly more men (57 percent) than women (47 percent) said they are stressed at work on a daily basis.

Professionals shared the following ways they combat stress at work:

  • Exercise daily (e.g., yoga, walking, running).
  • Enjoy time with friends or a significant other after work.
  • Engage in a hobby (e.g., gardening, reading).
  • Listen to music.
  • Take vacation time to recharge.

In addition, Accountemps offers accountants and other finance professionals the following three tips for combating work-related stress:

1. Protect your time. Staying organized is critical to finishing tasks. Rather than trying to juggle two things at once, allot time throughout the day to focus on key assignments.

2. Speak up. If your to-do list is never-ending, it’s possible you have too much on your plate. Talk to your manager about your workload and ask for help.

3. Take a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed during the day, step away from your desk, go for a walk, or grab a snack. If you can’t get outside, look away from the computer and focus on a nonwork-related activity for a few minutes.

Managers, here are a few tips on how you can help your employees minimize work-related stress.

1. Help prioritize. Meet with team members individually to help prioritize workloads and set realistic expectations about project deadlines and desired outcomes. If there is too much work to go around, bring in temporary professionals to lighten the workload for full-time employees.

2. Offer resources. Encourage your team to take advantage of stress management webinars, wellness tips or programs, and yoga or meditation classes available to them. Set a good example by utilizing these offerings, as well as employee breakrooms or lounges.

3. Make it fun. The job may be serious, but laughter and camaraderie can lead to greater work satisfaction and happiness. Look for ways to lighten the mood through social activities, staff celebrations, or office decorations.

Related articles:

Essential Tips for a Happy Busy Season and Beyond
A How-to Guide on Having Fun in the Office

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