Accounting for Mental Health: Tips for Professionals and Firms

by | May 22, 2024 | Culture

Being in a client-serving industry, accountants face high stress levels, long hours, and the demand to serve clients well, especially during busy seasons. Additionally, staying current with regulatory updates and new accounting standards, preparing for certification exams, and adapting to new technologies adds further strain, all while navigating tight deadlines.

To address the challenges accountants face, it is necessary for both professionals and organizations to acknowledge and provide resources in regard to mental health. In this blog, I will share tips that can help firms prioritize the mental health of their employees and offer guidance for individuals to protect their own mental well-being.

Company-Wide Initiatives

To foster a supportive work environment and alleviate unnecessary stress, companies can implement various initiatives and events aimed to increase the well-being of their employees:

1. Flexible Work Environment: Balancing your physical and mental health becomes challenging if you are confined to set office hours Monday through Friday. Offering flexible schedules and remote work options allows employees to maintain productivity while minimizing time spent on traditional work preparations such as hair, makeup, packing lunch and commuting. This flexibility maximizes the amount of time for work along with prioritizing mental well-being.

2. In Office Social Events: Working over eight hours straight in the office can be a mentally draining task. Planning events where your team can have fun and step away from the computer provides a nice mental break and improves workplace culture. It can even be as simple as playing bingo, hosting Taylor Swift trivia or organizing an in-office scavenger hunt.

3. Out of Office Social Events: It is easier for professionals to enjoy their work when they have positive relationships with their colleagues. Organizing happy hours on deadline days, engaging in activities like throwing darts or going to a sporting event together are great ways to allow your team to socialize and get to know each other on a more personal level.

4. Encourage Boundaries: Encouraging employees to set boundaries between their professional and personal lives can also promote a healthy work-life balance. This can include refraining from checking emails after hours and taking regular vacations. By respecting these boundaries, it can help prevent burnout and foster a fulfilling work environment.

5. Support Networks: By establishing a buddy and coaching program, professionals can connect with each other and have support for their overall career growth and development. Additionally, for those who are working and studying for the CPA Exam, it is essential that firms allow these employees the time necessary to study for the exam and establish a support system. This includes sharing study tips, notes, and words of encouragement.

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How To Prioritize Your Mental Health

While your company may offer stress-relief resources, it is necessary for you to make your own mental health a priority. This can take many different forms:

1. Exercise: Whether it is going to the gym, walking around your neighborhood, or taking an at-home Pilates class, exercise is an easy way to release pent up energy, relieve stress and promote your physical health.

2. Watch a Comforting Movie or TV Show: After a long day of critical thinking at work, mindlessly watching a tv show or movie can allow your brain to take a break from the mental stimulation it has experienced all day.

3. Maintain Personal Relationships: Although it can be easy to focus on work and shut people out from your life, it is important to communicate regularly with friends and family. Having a reality tv show night with your friends and carving out time to call your family members are great ways to maintain your personal relationships with others outside of work.

4. See a Mental Health Professional: Therapy is one of the least talked about activities but holds the highest amount of importance. Seeking professional support for your mental health provides solutions to problems both at work and in your personal life. It also improves stress management and provides time each week for you to focus on yourself.

In Conclusion

Both companies and professionals should actively put in effort towards stress relief and improved mental health. By implementing company-wide initiatives, companies can create a supportive work environment that prioritizes employees’ mental health and well-being, ultimately leading to higher job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Simultaneously, prioritizing personal mental health outside of work allows professionals to utilize the work-life balance their company offers, leading to a more fulfilling life overall.

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