As you’re probably already aware, working in finance and accounting can be stressful due to the long hours and high-pressured environment. According to research from employee benefits platform Perkbox, 15% of professionals working in finance and accounting positions experience stress from their role on a daily basis. Their latest survey also stated that 76% of finance and accounting professionals reported suffering from significant levels of work-related stress at some point during their career.
As stress can negatively impact both our personal and professional lives, it’s become an increasingly prioritised issue as working from home has been a catalyst for more open and honest conversations about mental health and wellbeing. The past 12 months have been steeped in uncertainty and defined by massive upheaval to traditional workplace structures along with a rapidly changing economic climate. As a result, more and more finance and accounting employees are experience stress on a daily basis and need to make positive changes to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Causes of stress in the workplace
There are many factors that can cause you to feel stressed and overwhelmed in the finance and accounting industry. On the one hand, a little bit of stress can be a great motivator and help you stay focused and able to meet challenges head on, though additional pressures in the current climate such as trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance when working remotely can leave finance and accounting professionals feeling drained and overworked. According to Perkbox, these are the main causes of work-related stress:
Work-related office politics (37%)
Lack of interdepartmental communications (34%)
The work performance of others e.g. junior members of the team (33%)
Own work performance (31%)
Customer/ client satisfaction levels (26%)
Tensions with senior members of staff/ managers (26%)
Long working hours (25%)
Poor company culture (18%)
The company’s performance as a whole (18%)
Effects of stress in the workplace
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them’. Stress affects people in different ways and depends on certain factors such as skills and experience, age or disability.
Signs of stress to look out for are:
Feeling anxious or depressed
Apathy, loss of interest in work
Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
Stress in the workplace has been found to negatively impact your performance and productivity. Finance and accounting professionals will find that they are unable to think under pressure and process new information to apply to both analytical and physical tasks that require concentration.
High levels of stress will also result in mental exhaustion and impede your ability to carry out menial tasks. Stress has also been shown to lead to a sense of frustration when communicating with colleagues and heightened sensitivities to any form of criticism.
Whatever your work demands, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress, improving your job satisfaction and promoting positive physical and mental wellbeing.
5 strategies for managing stress in the workplace
When feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it is important for you to communicate regularly with your managers so that they can offer their support. If it’s down to a heavy workload, personal performance or not knowing what to do, your manager can help to adjust goals and impart knowledge so that you can get back on track.
With its mood-boosting and endorphin-releasing properties, regular exercise is a natural stress reducer. Take the opportunity to go for a walk or a run on your lunch break or when feeling overwhelmed to help relieve tension and reboot your productivity levels.
Eat nutritious food
You may find yourself reaching for unhealthy snacks when feeling anxious, though it’s better to eat food such as fruit, fibre, superfoods or complex carbohydrates such as pasta and vegetables. Sugar or high-fat foods will leave you feeling lethargic and less likely to tackle challenges presented to you, resulting in increased levels of stress.
To avoid reaching a stage where you are drowning in tight deadlines or under numerous responsibilities, planning and staying organised is critical. Ensure you prioritise your workload by setting clear objectives and take time to sit with your finance and accounting manager to clarify your goals.
Get enough sleep
This may seem simple but getting enough sleep can positively impact your ability to better manage your stress levels at work. This is because a lack of sleep will inhibit your ability to cope with normal amounts of stress and negatively affects your mood. Try and sleep for eight hours a night on a regular basis to leave you feeling regenerated for the following day ahead.
Edward Mann can assist you in finding the right job move where you can fully utilise your skills and plan for personal growth to ensure a bright future. Our consultants will help you at every step of the way, offering application support, and interview advice so you make the right impression.