4 reasons your finance employees are showing signs of stress

By Robert Half 29th November 2017

Now that the financial year-end is drawing near for many businesses, finance functions are beginning to feel the pressure. They’re facing the responsibility of reconciling accounts, getting next year’s accounts set up, and compiling all the shareholder and company reporting. When the workload is dense and the accuracy requirement high, workplace stress is an inevitable side effect.  

Having an overly stressed team isn’t good news for business, especially at such a crucial time. According to a survey by Willis Towers Watson, 57% of employees who felt high levels of stress also reported that they were disengaged. Not only this—our research showed that stressed employees experience frequent illness and absenteeism. 

Here are 4 reasons your finance employees are showing signs of stress and ways you can remedy the issue before it affects company culture and end of year targets. 

What are the signs of stress?

Private healthcare provider, BUPA, estimates that nearly 12 million working days are lost to work-related stress each year and that almost half a million people in the UK suffer from it as a result of workplace environments. Signs of stress are easily recognised as the following: 

•    Missing deadlines
•    Significant drop in performance
•    Negative changes in temperament
•    Frequent illness and fatigue

1.    They’re overworked and under supported

Your top performers can only work at their best when they feel like their workload is manageable. When tasks begin to pile up and deadlines get tough, stress becomes unavoidable and output drops. If you feel that your finance team is under more pressure than usual this end-of-year, why not consider hiring in temporary or interim support?

Working with a good recruitment company can see the fast, smooth integration of highly qualified professionals into your team to free up top performers for value-added tasks. It’s a flexible, cost-effective solution and will preserve the efficiency of your finance team in the long-term.

2.    They don’t feel empowered

Tight deadlines and large workloads can make it easy to slip into bad habits, like micromanagement. Trusting that your team will handle important tasks is one of the signs of effective management and an important factor in how happy they are at work. 

Our happiness report shows that empowered staff typically make greater and more meaningful contributions towards business success, generate better ideas and are more creative. They’re also 2.7 times more likely to be happy and stress-free than employees who feel stifled. 

3.    Poor work-life balance

Signs of stress in employees tend to manifest themselves as skipping lunches, working late or working over the weekend. Disconnecting from work and taking regular breaks has been proven to improve output and accuracy, so it’s in the business’ best interest to encourage a good work-life balance.

Lead by example by taking lunch breaks (or even taking your team out to reward them for their continued efforts) and by encouraging your finance team to ‘switch off’ from digital communications out of hours.  Flexible working has also become a popular way to combat the signs of stress, and may serve as a nice benefit to offer to help improve output and morale during busy times.  

4.    Poor relationships with colleagues

Poor relationships within your finance team can be a result of a bad hire or a product of workplace stress. Healthy and supportive relationships between employees in your finance function are important in managing stress, feeling supported and being happy at work. 

This can be helped by fostering an environment of emotional agility, interpersonal interactions and a more positive attitude within your team. 

Learn more about employee stress reduction by downloading our employee happiness report or contact the Robert Half team and find out how they can help you find interim or temporary professional support. 

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