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How important is Wellbeing at Work to accountants?

June 21st -30th is World Wellbeing Week

And we’re celebrating by creating this article to advise both accountants and those looking to hire them on the importance of maintaining wellbeing not just at home, but at work too.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development state in their Growing the health and wellbeing agenda report, that ‘healthy workplaces help people to flourish and reach their potential.’ And that workplaces that strive to create content employees will reap the rewards when it comes to productivity and profit as well as getting a brilliant reputation as a great place to work.

The CIPD also helpfully paint a picture of the current situation across the board when it comes to wellbeing at work, with mental health conditions (exasperated exponentially by the COVID pandemic) standing out as being on the rise in the workplace. It’s not all bad news though. Physical injuries at work, particularly those caused by accidents in the workplace, have never been lower.

The institute also recently conducted a Health and Wellbeing at work survey and the report was published earlier this year. It showed that presenteeism and leavism (see below for definitions) were on the rise significantly in modern workplaces; be they physical offices or work environments or virtual offices. And this data is something that both accountancy employees and employers should work hard to reverse.

Presenteeism: People continuing to work when unwell.

Leavism: working outside of contracted hours or using annual or sick leave entitlement to work.

So what can the accountancy sector do to reverse the downward spiral of wellbeing at work?

Well let’s look at the key areas of employee wellbeing. The CIPD recommend that employers consider how they are performing against seven key principles.

1. Health

What standard and enhanced benefits do accountancy employees benefit from in the UK? And when you ask this question of your employer you should consider general health, physical health and mental health. So as standard, does your employer, or do you as an employer,  do a good job of managing risk and health and safety at work? Is there a designated first aider? Really look at the basics. And then conisder what additional benefits might be on offer to staff; health checks, health insurance, counselling, paid time off to attend health appointments.

2. Good Work

Is the working environment designed with optimum wellbeing in mind? Is there great lighting, are the desks and chairs ergonomically designed? And then on an operational basis how is your firm set up to help staff do great work? Is your line management structure clear? Do you offer fair and transparent rates of pay?

3. Values/Principles

Do staff in practice buy in to a very clear set of company values? Does the firm value diversity? Does it contribute to local communities and wider society with a corporate responsibility programme? Are staff encouraged and supported to volunteer?

4. Collective/Social

Are there opportunities for staff to partake in team building exercises? Is communication across the company slick and regular or do staff find out about changes via the rumour mill? Could a weekly lunchtime yoga session help staff to feel well and connect on a social level?

5. Personal Growth

Are there opportunities for the workforce to think creatively? Are they rewarded with training and development and are there defined pathways for progress internally? Is there a solid and trusted system of appraisal and performance management?

6. Good Lifestyle Choices

Are accountancy workforces actively encouraged to live healthy lives in and out of the office? And firms can make this as simple or extravagant as they like – a regularly refreshed fruit bowl in the staff room is a great place to start!

7. Financial Wellbeing

Are accountancy staff offered fair and competitive rates of pay and benefits? Are they offered opportunities to understand the importance of retirement planning or supported to manage debt?

Considering how your firm are performing against these seven principles of wellbeing is a brilliant way to celebrate World Wellbeing Week. Change doesn’t need to happen instantly but completing an audit and setting some targets for improvement by this week next year is a fantastic start.

If you’re an accountant working for a firm who could do more, then consider volunteering as your workplace wellbeing champion. And if that suggestion isn’t snapped, up consider working for a range of firms who do champion wellbeing at work and are desperate for talented accountants just like you!

And if you’re an accountancy employer who needs some help in improving your wellbeing at work offering, either through improvements to your diversity policy and performance or to your employee value benefits, work with the experts and give us a call today.

If a healthy accountancy workforce is something you care deeply about then you also might enjoy reading the following articles. Don’t forget to share them with your colleagues, managers and subordinates too. Together we can improve wellbeing at work for accountants.

How to support your colleagues’ mental health at work.

Spotlight on flexible working.

Could outdoor meetings transform modern practice?

Top 10 Tips for Happiness at Work

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