Burnout is a real problem in the accounting industry. The term, first coined by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974, isn't just a reference to feeling tired or run down at work. Burnout can quickly become a significant physical and mental illness, severely impacting your life and career.
According to data from several studies from 2020, around 41% of employees felt burned out from the stress of work amidst the pandemic.
However, burnout doesn't just stem from unpredicted events.
Additional research from Deloitte revealed around 77% of professionals had felt burnout in their workplace long before the pandemic began.
Unchecked, burnout can influence everything from workplace performance to emotional health, making it impossible to thrive in your accounting role. The question is, how do you identify and eliminate burnout before it goes too far?
What is Burnout?
First, it is important to acknowledge burnout is different from workplace stress or tiredness. It is an issue that can present in several ways, causing symptoms like:
Alienation from workplace activities: You may feel cynical about your working conditions or avoid participating in routine activities whenever possible.
Physical discomfort: Chronic stress can often lead to physical issues like stomach aches, headaches, and digestion issues.
Emotional exhaustion: You may feel as though you are struggling to cope, have no energy or are constantly on the verge of tears.
Reduced performance: When you are overwhelmed and exhausted, it is harder to do your best work. You may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Burnout in the accounting industry can also lead to issues such as making more mistakes at work or struggling to make decisions, And the more you keep trying to "push forward", the greater the symptoms can become.
How to Deal with Burnout in the Accounting Sector
While employers can take steps to assist with burnout, like building a company culture focused on empathy and support, it's also up to employees to care for themselves. If you think you're starting to feel the symptoms of burnout, the following steps could help.
Adjust Your Routine
The rise of flexible work and remote employment has made it easier for many staff members to adjust their routines to suit their needs.
If you feel overwhelmed by spending too much time in the office, you could consider asking your accounting employer whether it's possible to work from home, at least part-time.
If you are already working at home, you can consider adjusting your existing strategy to improve your wellbeing. For instance, make sure you are taking regular breaks throughout the day where you can stand up, move around, and get a change of scenery.
Exercise is excellent for reducing stress, keeping you grounded, and improving your mental health. You can also try relaxation measures like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to calm your nerves.
At the very least, ensure you're taking time to properly re-energise yourself with the right nutrition. Some studies show only around 28% of people take their designated lunch break. Taking time away from work is one of the best ways to ensure you maintain your productivity levels.
Establish Work-Life Boundaries
Having healthy boundaries is crucial for a good and balanced work life. Unfortunately, in the quest to succeed in the accounting industry, many employees push themselves further than they can manage. If you think you are overwhelmed by work, consider speaking to your employer about reducing your workload or making sure you take on fewer additional tasks.
If you are connected to your workplace through digital apps for collaboration, like many hybrid workers are today, it's important to know when to shut these off. Turn on "do not disturb" mode and disconnect from the workplace at the end of the day to focus on your life.
It is also imperative to ensure you're getting enough sleep. Avoid working late into the night because you want to finish a project. Think of a good night's rest as an investment in your future success. Sleep improves productivity, efficiency, and performance.
Ask Your Employer for Help
Many employers in the accounting space have begun to recognise the importance of empathy and wellbeing for their staff. If you are struggling to manage, your employer would prefer you to come to them and try to reach a solution rather than seeing you leave.
Depending on your relationship with your manager, you can approach them directly and let them know you are feeling burned out. They can offer suggestions on how you can reduce your workplace stress and get back on track. You can also talk to your HR representative and ask them what they can do to assist you with improving your schedule.
Employers can help you with everything from assigning some of your tasks to other employees to creating a strategy for remote working if you need some time out.
If your current accounting employer is not willing to be flexible with you, this indicates that they may not be supportive in other areas.
Consider Moving to a New Role or Organisation
If taking steps to improve your routine and discussing your options with your manager does not work out, the best action could be to speak to a specialist accounting recruitment agency.
Most people spend the majority of their waking hours working. It can take a serious toll on your health if you are starting to hate your job and dread going to work.
While holidays and regular breaks can help initially, it may be time to look into other positions if you continue to feel overwhelmed at work. The market for accounting specialists is buoyant with many options and opportunities with more flexible working conditions and pay and benefits.
If you are considering a new job, it might be worth considering the things you want to prioritise immediately. Decide whether you are looking for a remote position, a four-hour work week, or another benefit, and ask your recruiter to help you find what you need.
At Hedley Scott Recruitment we have been helping firms with their talent acquisition and engineering job seekers to find their ideal roles for over 20 years. If you want to find out how we can help you, call us on 02 8877 8700 or contact us here.