The ‘always-on’ culture of the modern world has wreaked havoc on workplace wellbeing. The knock-on effect from this burnout culture has led to a plunge in concentration levels and an increase in presenteeism, according to the accounting charity CABA in a new report on the importance of holistic health and wellbeing at work.
As accountants prepare for the prospect of self assessment season, this report from CABA highlights the impact a negative workplace can have on productivity and wellbeing. One of the key findings sees 74% of employees acknowledge poor wellbeing as having a negative effect on their concentration.
As a consequence of this, 63% of people see themselves as less productive, while a negative workplace has forced 40% of people to take time off work that wasn’t the result of physical sickness or a holiday.
Bearing in mind the pressing deadlines self assessment season presents, the lack of productivity a negative workplace creates can only exacerbate these annual time pressures.
Wellbeing influences every aspect of a business
For practitioners with a team, CABA’s wellbeing consultant Lucy Whitehall hopes the results will encourage employers to address any wellbeing imbalance. Writing in the forward, Whitehall urges businesses to regard employee wellbeing in the same light as pension provision or profit and loss account.
“Employee wellbeing influences every aspect of a business. Profitability, sustainability, customer engagement, talent attraction and retention are all impacted by how well, or not, employees feel,” she said.
One reason for the shift in the working population’s health is the inescapable proliferation of technology. While geographical communication or client accessibility barriers have lowered, Whitehall argues that the 24/7 culture created by better software and devices has blurred the distinction between home and work lives.
“This societal shift has wreaked havoc with employee wellbeing, with study after study highlighting how workplace culture is pushing employees towards burnout,” she said. “After-work emails are leaving employees emotionally exhausted, which in turn is affecting their home life.”
Practical wellbeing tips
Given how wellbeing affects the bottom line, CABA has assembled an employee-wellbeing strategy. Based on insights and best practice from member firms, the practical advice includes:
- Listening to your employees will help you develop a strategy that gives them the support they need
- Make space for employees to look after themselves, such as healthy eating initiatives and flexible working hours
- A healthy work-life balance needs to be modelled across the organisation. For example, people need to see others leave on time or stay home when they’re sick
The Practice Excellence response
Data from the 2017 Practice Excellence entrants shows firms are investing more effort into workplace wellbeing. As Brighton-based firm and PEA17 innovative firm of the year Crunch realised, sourcing highly skilled and professionally qualified staff is a challenge.
That's why Crunch has responded with a series of dedicated workplace culture initiatives such as free breakfasts, a cycle-to-work scheme and gym discounts.
“Taking a proactive approach to workplace happiness has also allowed us to maintain a unique, engaging company culture, despite rapid expansion and scaling,” Crunch chief Darren Fell told AccountingWEB earlier this year. “Our 2016 staff survey found 80% feel positive about their managers and 85% love the benefits we offer.”
And in many cases, firms have offered flexible and remote working. Jon Dudgeon, co-founder of Blu Sky tax said: “Our staff are our most valuable asset – if they have a healthy wellbeing then so should our business… our hosted desktop solutions mean our team can work from anywhere, whether that be home, office, Newcastle, London, or abroad (for the really keen).”
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's Practice Editor. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.