Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Achieving Work/Life Balance Biggest Stress Factor for Employees

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
June 6, 2012

A recent survey indicated what is causing the most stress for employees.  Achieving work/life balance.

What’s stressing out everyone at the office? Apparently, making work — and everything else — work. In a new Accountemps survey, 41 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said trying to balance work and personal responsibilities is the greatest source of workplace stress for accounting and finance professionals. Office politics or conflicts with coworkers was cited by 28 percent of respondents.

CFOs were asked, “Which of the following do you think is the greatest source of workplace stress for accounting and finance professionals?” Their responses:

Trying to balance work and personal demands 41%
Office politics or conflicts with coworkers 28%
Keeping current with changing accounting and finance regulations 16%
Higher workloads 9%
Challenging commute 4%
Don’t know/no answer 2%

“Work/life balance may seem like an issue for individuals, but it also should be a concern for businesses,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies® 2nd edition. “Whether it’s through flexible work schedules, telecommuting arrangements or other options, companies can benefit from helping their teams balance professional and personal objectives. Organizations that commit to these efforts enhance morale and productivity and make their businesses more appealing places to work.”

Messmer added that professionals need to do their part, too. Here are five things every employee should know:

  1. Your employer’s priorities: Knowing which initiatives are most critical to the firm’s success will help you prioritize your responsibilities. Proper workload management will increase your productivity and make it easier to accommodate personal demands as they arise.
  2. What your company offers: Familiarize yourself with alternate work arrangements or other benefits your employer may provide. For example, can you telecommute or adopt a more flexible schedule? When approaching your manager about adding these offerings, present a business case that also details how the firm will benefit from giving employees more flexibility in when and how work gets done.
  3. How to say no: Realize that no one can accomplish everything. If you can’t take on a new project, let your manager know. Explain the situation, and, if needed, offer to shift some of your responsibilities to accommodate the new request. Your boss would rather know up front than see a project fall through the cracks.
  4. Your calendar: It may not work every time, but try to block out your schedule when you need to attend to personal activities or errands, and let your manager know in advance. That way, you’ll have the time already built into your day.
  5. How to unplug: As much as possible, set aside times when you can cut the tether with the office. Try to avoid checking work email and list an alternate contact in your out-of-office message.

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