Employee Wellness Programs: Battling Stress & Absenteeism in Accountancy


It’s no secret that the accounting profession can be a demanding and challenging one—especially during Busy Season or in sectors of public accounting that require long days and even longer nights. Although we know that this is just the nature of the job, it’s crucial that employers don’t shrug it off as such. 

According to the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA), they found that 32% of accountants feel stressed in their daily life and 17% were forced to take time off in order to placate the stress they were experiencing. What these statistics don’t show is how many firms and organizations could be spending more in healthcare costs and/or losing revenue due to their employees’ loss of productivity or resignation caused by stress. 

But there is an extremely helpful solution for this problem: employee wellness programs, which is any program implemented by an employer to improve the health of its labor force. In order to reduce turnover, lower absenteeism, and address the physical, mental, and emotional toll that the job can take on many accountants, here are the different ways firms, businesses, and organizations can make employee wellness programs successful.  

Know what to offer your employees 

In order for wellness programs to work, you need to tailor them to your staff’s needs. An easy way to do this is to have them fill our surveys anonymously that ask questions about the type of wellness programs they would benefit from the most. From there, you can get a better understanding of what the vast majority of your staff is struggling with. By offering them programs specific to their wants, they will be more likely to sign up and can boost moral as they feel more supported and acknowledged in their work environment.

Create wellness programs internally or externally

In this day and age, wellness programs are extremely popular and are easier to manage. You can create wellness programs internally by assigning your HR department with this task, or having your staff form committees and execute the programs themselves. Alternatively, you can also hire a third party organization to help you plan and execute the type of wellness programs you want. Having wellness programs shouldn’t be stressful; conversely, it should be a fun and productive service. 

Be as inclusive as possible 

In addition to providing what your employees need/want, make sure you’re also offering a little extra. For example, some wellness programs extend to employees’ spouses and children. For example, you could offer on-site childcare at the office once a month or hire a family therapist to give family counseling sessions every so often. Improving your employees’ lives at home plays a huge factor of their happiness at work. 

You can also ensure that your wellness programs are inclusive by having variety. If you’re having gym classes every week, make sure it alternates from yoga, to hip hop dancing, to strength training, etc. Or, if you’re offering nutrition classes, it should provide valuable information for those who are already eating healthy as well as those who aren’t. By being as inclusive as possible, you maximize the wellness programs for all your employees who will benefit in some way or another. 

Take advantage of technology 

With new gadgets on the rise, technology is making it easier and easier for people to track their daily health goals. There are many activity trackers and apps similar to Fitbit that you can provide your employees with to set and reach goals whether it’s calories burned or amount of steps taken per day. This is a great way to help your employees actually see their progress and also offers friendly competition if they want to set up daily or weekly challenges with their peers.  

Offer incentives 

Perhaps one of the most successful ways to get employees to engage in wellness programs is to offer incentives for participation. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as giving employees flexibility to work from home for a day, leave early, or come in late each time they reach a certain amount of steps in the month, or if they are consistently active with other programs for a set amount of time. You can make incentives individualized, collective, or both. Employees will be more motivated to improve their own health (and the health of the company) if they’re being rewarded for it. 

There’s no set mold for wellness programs 

Lastly, it’s important to remember that there is no single, all empowering definition for what a wellness program should be from company to company. All businesses are different with varying sizes of staff, resources, and space. Therefore, create wellness programs that work for your employees and what they need in order to maintain a healthy, well-balanced emotional, physical, and mental state of mind. 

In doing so, you are most likely to see return on investment as reductions in employee absenteeism, staff turnover, and stress occur. 

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