Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month 

And it’s highly likely that your workforce is impacted by stress even if you’re paying the utmost attention to supporting their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. 

That’s a frustrating statement to hear as a committed and successful leader who really values the human element of successful practice and is experienced in that critical leadership skill that is emotional intelligence. 

But the cold hard facts are that life on Planet Earth has become a bit more stressful than it was just a few short years ago. With the tidal waves (to name just a few of the most obvious) of war, COVID-19 and climate change lapping at the shores of life as we know it, even your employees who practice all of the very best stress reduction habits likely aren’t sleeping as well as they once were.

So how can you mitigate the impact of a level of stress you can’t control or reduce and help your workforce to stay happy and healthy and as a consequence productive and creating great results for your clients?

The answer is a combination of tools, resources and processes.

The stress that many of your employees are feeling in 2022 is likely to be caused by trauma. And we’re not talking about the trauma of an event or tragedy they might have experienced in their childhood (though of course that’s always possible). We’re talking about the collective trauma we’ve all experienced over the last few years as we’ve realised that the things we didn’t think could ever happen, can. 

And for those reasons your workforce needs support in managing feelings of overwhelm, post traumatic stress disorder and the potential burnout that they can lead to. They need support in learning to live using the mantra ‘I’ll cross that bridge IF I come to it’ which is a popular tool used by Psychotherapists adept at supporting people with these issues. 

A flexible benefits package is something that can really step in as a practical tool here. We, and most candidates out there, understand that the budget for employee rewards isn’t unlimited, but having a suite of benefits from which an employee can prioritise what is most useful to them is a really good idea. 

As well as life assurance and the option to purchase additional annual leave perhaps you could consider offering your workforce the option to access a certain amount of online therapeutic resources in a calendar year. You’ll likely find an option to suit your firm’s budget; at the cheaper end of the scale some kind of online stress management course would work for some and at the opposite end, face to face counselling or therapy might be a manageable expense. 

A flexible benefits package acts a a pick and mix menu of workplace perks that your employees can choose from. And the options for what to include in it are endless and as no two employees likely handle the emotions of stress in the same way, it’s also fair to say that the best resources for them to manage that stress will differ from accountant to accountant. 

Maybe for some, access to a meditation app would be a really helpful stress management perk. But for others reduced price tickets to see their favourite sports team would be a great way of living in the moment and letting off steam. 

Stress Awareness Month is another opportunity for employers in practice to be reminded that their workforce is their biggest asset and investing in protecting and nurturing that asset should be a non negotiable part of your business strategy. 

If you’re a Partner at a firm interested in exploring what more you can do to attract, retain and nurture the very best accountancy talent out there, we’d be delighted to share our learned experiences about stress support benefits and rewards packages more generally. 

You’ll find plenty more supportive information on the Employers’ Hub of our website and we’re always available for a no obligation chat about how we might be able to help you further. Email us today at info@publicpracticerecruitment.co.uk

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