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Spotting signs of stress in your remote finance and accounting team is challenging when in-person interactions are kept to a minimum. As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your team’s wellbeing and do anything you reasonably can to support their positive mental health, safety and welfare even when they’re working remotely. Managing workplace stress will benefit the business too, as it has been shown to increase productivity, boost performance, minimise conflict and ultimately build a happier and healthier workforce and positive company culture.
Although workplace stress is nothing new, it is on the rise. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s annual Labour ForceSurvey, work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health and 55% of working days lost in 2020, which is significantly higher than the previous year. It also stated that the main factors causing stress amongst remote finance and accounting professionals are:
Lack of managerial support
Role uncertainty (lack of clarity about job/ uncertain about what they’re meant to do)
Pauses or disruption to career progression
From a business perspective, many finance and accounting employees have proven that they can maintain their productivity levels when working from home, although the shift does not come without its challenges.
According to Nuffield Health’s latest survey:
30% of employees struggled to compartmentalise their personal and professional lives
27% reported difficulties switching off at the end of the day or working week
25% said they are finding it difficult to cope with the mental challenges of loneliness and isolation from their colleagues
34% stated the shift had placed a strain on their household relationships
Ensure you stay in regular contact with your finance and accounting team and relieve any feelings of anxiety by remaining honest and authentic in your communication. Organise a daily call with them to give briefings on what’s happening within the business and priorities for the day, week, or month but also to jump-start their productivity and focus.
Remind them regularly that they are part of the wider team and recognise those who have performed well to make sure they feel valued. Use this time to talk openly about the additional pressures that come with remote working and make it known that you are always available for individual catch-ups.
Ensure you implement the right collaboration tools for your remote finance and accounting team to aid their organisation and project management. The ability to collaborate effectively from home allows your finance and accounting team to work together and achieve business goals, mimicking the in-office experience.
Technology like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype Business, etc., will also create that sense of workplace community and culture when working from home, as they provide innovative ways to communicate and connect with a distributed team.
When working from home, it is easy to feel isolated and lonely which can negatively impact an individual’s wellbeing and in turn, their productivity. Social health is considered a pillar of wellness and when we’re not in the office, we lack that support structure to help us get through work or life challenges.
Work relationships are essential for a positive work environment, so try and instigate team building activities to promote social connections among your finance and accounting team. This will also allow them the opportunity to blow off some steam and reduce their stress levels by having some fun and an opportunity to unwind.
Make sure you set performance expectations that match reality, as your finance and accounting team cope with external pressures and anxiety over the uncertainty of the future. While remote employees need to be self-motivated, it’s important to ensure that they feel like they have enough managerial guidance to prioritise their work. Ensure you set clear goals with specific metrics, following structured timelines with regular check-ins and evaluation periods.
To promote positive wellbeing when managing your remote finance and accounting team, it’s important to lead by example and model healthy behaviours where self-care and setting boundaries between work and home life are a priority. Share that you’re going for walks on your lunch or encourage taking a step outside to get some fresh air when feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
At Edward Mann, we value the importance of staff who feel supported and encouraged in their work. We have engendered this philosophy in our own offices and would be happy to help you too. Feel free to get in touch if you are looking for tips to support your finance and accounting team in reducing stress in the workplace.
With our database and deep networks within the finance community, we are also able to source high-calibre candidates to suit the specific needs of your business goals to make sure you don’t miss out in the future. We actively look for the most technically proficient candidates and have an international mindset to ensure you get the best possible skillsets to suit your needs.