Lessons From Lockdown – Are You at Risk of Burnout?

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The past three months have been challenging in varying degrees for everyone in the U.K. 

Not being able to see our friends and family, changes in the workplace and question marks over the future of nearly every aspect of our daily lives have heightened everyone’s concerns. These restrictions meant that everyone who continued to work had done so under increased pressure – whether they realise it or not. 

While almost a quarter of the U.K. workforce (around 6 million) were furloughed, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) identified many accounting roles such as senior managers, audit compliance and risk management as essential. Lots of finance employees I spoke to worked throughout lockdown – with increased workloads. 

Most employees take on additional work in their stride, especially during times of crisis. But after operating in this state for an extended time, you are at a higher risk of burnout.  

Let’s take a look at the circumstances which can lead to burnout in finance employees, starting with working set-ups. 

 

Home vs The Office – Long Term WFH Plans 

 

 

Understandably, a conversation has arisen about the future of work, and if working from home will remain a large part of our working landscape. From my conversations with candidates and from what I’ve seen online, this is a divisive issue – some prefer to work from home; others find it incredibly challenging. 

Even though burnout is usually associated with being in the office for extended periods, there has been increased reporting of individuals suffering from lockdown burnout too.  

Yes, you might have said goodbye to a lengthy commute, but working from home presents its own set of challenges – lack of home office space, noisy neighbours, and childcare issues, which I’ll mention later. 

You might feel increased stress due to being isolated at home; alternatively, if you are returning to the office, this might also be a worry for you.  

Let’s look at burnout upon returning to the office.  

 

Returning to Your Finance Role – Post-Lockdown Burnout 

 

 

If you’ve enjoyed working from home, returning to the office might fill you with dread. Increased time and money spent on commuting, increased risk of catching the virus, returning to work with a disjointed or lesser team; it might not be straightforward or easy.  

The pressure to perform at your most productive with all of these concerns should not be taken lightly.  

Despite fears of a recession, roles in the finance sector have not suffered, and in many cases, employees are experiencing increased workloads, made more difficult by the division of teams.  

Emerging from the lockdown, experts are predicting a recession, and business plans which were drawn up at the beginning of the year are now largely redundant. Employees will have significant challenges in helping businesses to get their finances in check. We can expect finance departments to be busier than ever in the coming months, as the financial fallout of COVID-19 becomes realised and then consequently must be managed. 

If you are struggling upon returning to work, there are steps you can take to avoid burnout – which I will go through at the end of this article.  

 

Increased Pressure on Parents  

There’s no hard and fast rule for who has coped better during the recent circumstances. Still, it can be said that working parents of school-age children continue to face significant challenges. 

With many financial employees working full schedules, childcare is still an issue. With the government’s plans to reopen primary schools in disarray, and with many secondary schools not opening until September, this is a real concern to working parents. 

If your situation dictates that you will be working from home for another few months and you’ve got young children, how will you manage to juggle your role with homeschooling? But also, returning to work will mean having to organise and pay for childcare – this has the potential to be incredibly stressful. 

Finally, let’s look at how to spot and manage burnout in your finance role. 

 

Spotting and Managing Burnout  

 

 

As you can see, despite appearing on the surface that you’re holding things together, recent circumstances have created the potential for increased stress. And that’s the thing with burnout; it occurs due to rising pressures over time, making it hard to spot, often not until it’s too late.  

So, here are four psychologically approved methods for spotting and managing burnout. 

  • You must maintain a healthy work-life balance. If you are continuing to work from home, make sure you take breaks and log off when you are meant to – it can be tempting to dip into your work when the line between work and home is blurred, but this will only increase your risk of feeling stressed, overworked and unable to switch off 
  • Check-in with yourself. It can be tempting to plough on with work tasks when you’ve got a lot on, but it is essential to step back and to check if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being honest with yourself about having feelings of overwhelm will help you to do something about it earlier, rather than ignoring these negative feelings and letting them multiply. 
  • Speak to your manager if you have any concerns. Everyone has had more issues to deal with recently, and if you have managed to keep up the façade that you’re coping, your manager might not realise you’re struggling.  
  • Practice self-care. Limit your use of social media and news websites, get enough sleep and stay active. Improving your physical health is proven to help your mental health, too. 

 

If your current finance role is causing you excess stress, if the future of your role looks uncertain of if you have been thinking about a change of role for a while – we can help. 

If you want to discuss the future of your finance career with a finance recruitment expert, call us on 01282 930930 or get in touch here to discuss your options. 

 

Thanks, 

Rachel 

 

About Rebus Financial Recruitment   

Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.   

We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930. 

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