How to minimise stress in the accounting profession

The calendar of every accountant is generous when it comes to the number of potentially stressful days. From changes in regulatory reporting to new business demands — and don’t even get us started on year-end. 

If you own or manage an accountancy firm, it’s essential to show your staff that you care for their well-being. 

For some great ideas on how to minimise stress at your accountancy firm, we’ve put together our top tips to get you started:

  • Promote wellness at work
  • See if you can arrange a gym discount
  • Introduce them to yoga
  • Create a supportive environment
  • Reevaluate your internal meetings
  • Offer a flexible work environment

Promote wellness at work

This is where strong internal communications are key. Whether you send company-wide emails or have a staff intranet, there are many ways that you could promote wellness in your workplace. Here are some things to consider:

See if you can arrange a gym discount

Businesses are usually willing to provide discounts to the staff of companies in their local area. It might be worth reaching out to gym facilities in your town or city (or near where your employees live) to see if you can arrange a discount for your staff. Perhaps by paying the difference yourself? 

The positive impact on your staff’s mental wellbeing could go a long way to reducing stress in the office. 

Introduce them to yoga

It’s well documented that yoga is a great way to relieve stress. With that in mind, why not find a way for your employees to try it during office hours?

You could have a yoga instructor teach a class over a video call where employees can take part from their own homes. Alternatively, you could pay for your employees to download apps like the Glo yoga app so they can do yoga whenever they want.

You could also introduce them to meditation apps like Headspace to help them control their stress and feel grounded.

Create a supportive work environment

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Some people become angry, and others internalise their problems, allowing them to fester. Creating a supportive environment will make employees feel valued and understood, hopefully lowering their stress levels.

There are a few ways you can go about this:

  • Organise staff events – the more familiar someone is with you, the more likely they are to reach out. Staff events are a perfect way for you and your team to get to know each other.
  • Allow anonymous feedback – while this doesn’t give you answers about who has an issue with something within the company, team members are more likely to voice their concerns if they can do so without exposing themselves. And you still get your answers!
  • Ask your staff how they are – with so much work on your plate and operating remotely, it’s easy to forget to check in with your team every day. However, simply sending a message to ask your employees how they are lets them know you care and haven’t forgotten about them. 
  • Arrange regular 1-2-1 meetings – You could also arrange bi-weekly 1-2-1 meetings with employees to discuss how they’re doing and find solutions together to help them with their workload. If you don’t have time to do so personally, make it part of your team managers’ responsibilities. 

Reevaluate your internal meetings

There’s nothing more annoying than unnecessary meetings when everyone is under pressure to meet important deadlines. If an appointment isn’t vital, or it can wait, do your staff a favour and remove it from their calendars. 

Or, if you don’t need everyone to attend, make it clear that it’s ok for these employees to skip the meeting if they feel they don’t have time. Let them know you’ll fill them in afterwards about information they need to know.

To help you determine if a meeting is necessary, try asking yourselves the following questions:

  • Do my staff, or I have enough time to prepare for the meeting? If you or your staff need to prepare material like research or presentations ahead of the meeting, but something prevents you from getting it done, consider moving the meeting.
  • Does the meeting clash with other meetings? If your internal meeting falls into the same time slot as a client meeting, the client meeting should come first. Reschedule your meeting to a better time.
  • Does everyone need to attend? Consider if you need every staff member to attend or if it’s enough, so simply gather the senior staff and have them pass on the information to their team members. Perhaps you could even send an email with the information for employees to read when they have time?
  • Can I shorten the meeting? Review the itinerary for the meeting. If you can shorten the time from one hour to 30 minutes, do it.

Offer flexible working hours

By the end of 2020, over 4 million employees in the United Kingdom had contracts that allowed for the use of flexi-time. Additionally, 98% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. Remote workers also listed a flexible schedule as the main benefit of working from home.

Having a flexible working schedule gives employees the freedom to work when they feel most productive, meaning they will manage their tasks more efficiently during those times. Additionally, if your employees have children and other personal duties, they can fit these in easier around their job. For example, if someone needs to drive their children to school for 8 am, they can start work when they get home and continue a bit later in the evening. 

Rules and guidelines for flexible working can include:

  • Be available for meetings and/or urgent tasks between 10 am and 3 pm.
  • Full-time employees must work 7.5-8 hours per day
  • Part-time employees may work 3-4 hours per day or choose 2-3 days to work full time

Implementing a flexible working schedule where employees can choose to start and finish their day is an excellent way to minimise stress and increase productivity simultaneously. 

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