In today’s corporate climate, we see a variety of stressors affecting accounting and finance teams. From issues with new accounting standards to internal audits to tight deadlines for month-end close, sometimes the level of stress impacts professionals so much that it becomes detrimental to their performance, team dynamic and even their personal life.
Stress isn’t exclusive to the accounting and finance function either. Research shows that working professionals in many industries are almost 70 percent more stressed than just five years ago. That’s a staggering amount!
So, what can an accounting or finance manager do when they see their team’s stress levels continually rise?
I recently came across a Forbes article that discusses ways to combat stress through a proactive approach, and I thought I would share with you some of the take-aways. Check out the 5 Ways for Accounting & Finance Teams to Reduce Stress below.
1. Make Meetings Efficient
No one wants their time wasted, and if you’ve given someone a tight deadline the last thing you want them to do is attend a lengthy meeting pulling them away from their work. So first, be clear with who should attend your meeting. If it’s absolutely necessary for your team members to attend, be sure to have a clear agenda. Then, be efficient and stay on task moving through the agenda items. It’s important that you not go over the allotted time set for the meeting. Being organized and efficient can help alleviate stress associated with your meeting.
2. Add Staff When Needed
During extra busy times like tax season or when an internal audit is being conducted, consider adding temporary team members or consultants to pick up the slack. This will allow your existing team members some breathing room to focus on priority projects while others can come in for shorter periods of time and take some of the load off their everyday work.
3. Keep Communication Lines Open
The last thing you want your team members to stress about is not having information that can help with their production. Be sure to take the time to be transparent and communicate any changes or pertinent information that can make their jobs easier. Alternatively, you should encourage your team to speak up if they’re having any issues, feeling overwhelmed or on the verge of burnout. Open communication will benefit everyone.
4. Automate Repetitive Tasks
If your payroll team is still manually sending emails or they’re pulling the same data over and over without utilizing technology to help automate those processes, your team is likely stressed and not working optimally. Be sure to introduce new technologies to your accounting and finance teams and offer any training necessary so that they can leverage tools and resources to help automate smaller tasks. This will allow your team to focus on bigger accounting and finance projects or systems, and improve performance.
5. Encourage Healthy Habits
It’s no secret that a healthy diet and exercise can reduce stress – as can laughter and overall happiness. Keep a pulse on your teams to see what they might be needing. Do they need to get out of the office and take a walk to recharge? Do you need to bring in a healthy lunch to give them a good boost of energy for the afternoon? Do you need to walk into the office and chat about a funny topic for a few minutes? Whatever the culture of your business and team are, expand on that and encourage healthy habits. This will surely alleviate any stress that might be building.
What are some other ways for managers to help accounting and finance teams reduce stress at work? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!