If you and the rest of your finance team have been feeling some added stress lately due to the pandemic, you’re far from alone.
The majority (66%) of finance professionals say they have higher stress levels now because of the coronavirus pandemic, revealed a new survey from the A/P experts at AvidxChange.
What’s more, since the pandemic began in mid-March, 26% of finance pros say they’ve been working longer hours and 21% admit they’ve lost sleep due to work-related stress.
Of course, added stress can have all sorts of negative impacts on your team, from lower productivity and depleted morale to headaches and other health concerns. And without a clear picture of just how long the pandemic will last, CFOs should be working now to turn the tides of stress.
Check out three ways to keep spirits and efficiency high in Finance now:
1. Talk it out
It seems obvious. The reality is, though, talking about stress, anxiety or other negative impacts of work can be difficult for some team members and managers who want to appear like they’ve got it all together. But as their leader, you know that doesn’t mean these topics can be ignored or glossed over.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages work teams to:
- Identify things that cause stress and work together to find solutions.
- Talk about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting work.
- Clearly communicate work expectations to everyone. (It could be best to have each finance function manager – A/P, A/R, Payroll, etc. – talk to their people about the more procedural, day-to-day expectations.)
2. Re-establish consistency
Before the pandemic, you and your team probably had a fairly set routine of when you got to work, took your breaks and called it quits. During the pandemic, especially with more remote work and business disruption, that might have all gone out the window.
Developing a consistent daily routine (ideally one similar to a pre-pandemic schedule) could help your team regain control and lower stress. According to the CDC, you should advise your team to:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with others.
- When remote, set a regular time to end their workday, if possible.
- Spend time outdoors and do things they enjoy during non-work hours.
3. Connect your systems
On the more technical side, you know centralized, connected systems make Finance’s work easier. AvidxChange’s survey also asked finance pros about their system integration and found 35% of teams have integrated systems, 13% have separate systems and 45% have a mix.
In other words, many finance teams still use at least two (and often more) different systems in their everyday operations. And trying to manage disconnected systems could be hurting efficiency and adding to the stress.
If you haven’t yet, it could be beneficial to check in with each finance function and IT to see if there’s a better way to connect your systems or flow information seamlessly (e.g., an in-house configuration, new remote-friendly automation).