April is Stress Awareness Month
In fact it’s been Stress Awareness Month every April since 1992 when the signs and symptoms of the stress epidemic of the modern age became evident across the globe.
Accountants are not immune to stress. Combine large workloads, pressured deadlines, moving goalposts (thanks COVID) and often high maintenance clients and you have the perfect formula for a stressful 2021. If you’re a Partner or line manager you also carry the stress of keeping your workforce fit for purpose and shielding them from unnecessary stress! In fact recent research conducted in line with Stress Awareness Month showcased that stress in the UK is worse than ever, with 65% of people in the UK feeling more stressed since the COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020.
The theme for Stress Awareness Month this year is ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’ and at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re perfectly positioned to offer you guidance on how to do just that.
We’ve done a lot of work in recent months to support accountants to feel connected in their remote workplaces. Whether it be our recent article on Zoom and Microsoft Teams tips and tricks or our advice on how colleagues can ensure they remain connected whilst remote working there’s plenty that your teams can be doing themselves to ensure you’re a well connected workplace.
But as a manager we’re pleased to report there are resources available to aid you in your bid to regain connectivity personally and also to support your team in doing so. This handy download from the Stress Management Society encourages users to make a connectivity pledge and to write down what one daily activity they will undertake to ensure they don’t start to feel isolated and stressed in their remote place of work.
Another great idea might be to distribute one useful article, podcast or short online tutorial on a subject (it can be totally unrelated to accountancy) and then schedule an online get together where your team discuss it and talk about what they learned or why they enjoyed it or didn’t. Perhaps the most engaged staff member gets to choose the theme for the following week? Feeling connected on a subject that isn’t related to workload can enhance your workplace relationships on a more meaningful level and help reduce stress for you and your team.
This will be a big one for you and for the people who work for you. The last year has brought about massive change in every aspect of our lives and it would be wrong of us to pretend that some accountancy firms are not having to make very real decisions on the structure of their workforces in the future.
Hushed voices, secret emails and emergency senior leadership meetings will do nothing to reduce the levels of stress experienced by all in your firm. So if you are experiencing growth and increased productivity and profitability and are able to offer the employees you value some level of certainty, know that that is a gift they will gladly receive. By reassuring staff that the future of the practice looks bright you’ll reap the rewards of a more relaxed and positive workplace culture.
If however the opposite applies, then communication is absolutely key and you’ll need to find the right balance between causing unnecessary worry and ensuring your staff are kept informed and as involved as possible in the decision making process. If redundancies or a shuffling of roles is a certainty then be sure to provide staff with plenty of practical support to keep stress to a minimum. And include yourself here as the process of restructuring teams can create plenty of stress for those tasked with making it happen. International Wellbeing provide a suite of online workshops that might be a valuable source of support for employees and managers during times of uncertainty.
This is a biggy. And often one that can be best achieved by sharing the load.
Senior leaders are so often bogged down by the need to be everything to everyone. You’re likely suffering stress as a result of skipping from blue sky strategic thinking to on the ground operational trouble shooting, sometimes all within the same ten minute window! It’s no wonder you and your colleagues might be feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Regain control of your workload and the workloads of those you manage by taking some protected time to really consider the different tasks that take up your time. Consider the answers to both these questions…
- Are you expecting more from your team (and yourself) than is actually achievable?
- What tasks are you and your team taking on that could be more efficiently performed by someone else?
It’s likely that the answers to those two questions might bring up the topic of recruitment. If your collective workload isn’t well managed by the structure you have in place then change should be on your agenda. And that change is likely to be managed most effectively by a niche accountancy recruiter, one with experience that you can trust to get the right people in the right roles in a timely fashion.
At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re well versed in supporting accountancy Partners to reduce business burnout and stress by finding the very best talent to help ease the burden and spread the load of a growing or changing business agenda.
To work with the very best in the business and for the ultimate support in regaining control of your recruitment needs this Stress Awareness Month, reach out for a no obligation discussion today.
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