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Larger workloads send CFO stress through the roof

Working in finance can be stressful. Recent research shows that four out of five chief financial officers (CFOs) say stress levels in their job are rising. Research by recruitment company Robert Half found that the majority of CFOs see their jobs becoming more stressful in the next 24 months and key factors include larger workloads, higher business expectations and a staffing shortages. The survey suggests that pressures are increasing on CFOs across the globe, with replies from financial executives in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

Are Dutch CFOs less stressed?

The United Arab Emirates was the country with the most stressed CFOs – 83 per cent expect their stress levels to increase in the next two years – followed closely by Switzerland and Germany (where 81 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively, of CFOs expect pressure to increase). British CFOs were not far behind, as 78 per cent of them predicted an increased level of stress, while the Dutch uphold their reputation for having a more sanguine approach to life, with only 67 per cent of CFOs predicting higher pressures.

Robert Half's Matt Weston makes the point that stress is more likely in the run-up to the financial year-end and that stressed employees tend to be less efficient and productive. He suggests that managers consider hiring temporary support, such as additional credit controllers, purchase ledger clerks and financial/management accountants to help ease the burden on tired employees.

6 steps to reduce workplace stress

So how can finance employees try to beat stress? Here are some suggestions:

  1. ensure that health and wellness are discussed on a regulator basis in the department;
  2. many businesses have policies and programmes for reducing workplace stress – can your department learn and implement some of these strategies?
  3. consider flexible working as a means to reduce stress for employees;
  4. look at the office space (lighting, layout) to consider whether a reorganisation could reduce stress;
  5. provide regular opportunities for employees to give feedback to management;
  6. plan ahead to ensure busy periods are covered with extra support from temporary workers.

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