ACCA Council member Sharon Critchlow shares tips for professional accountants’ wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic
Many of us who have been through the 2008 financial crisis are looking back at our coping strategies at that difficult time and thinking how we can apply them again today. And for those who have joined the profession since that other black swan event, here are some tips from experience that might help.
Communicate at all times
With a fast-changing business and regulatory landscape, it’s more important than ever to communicate with clients. We might feel that this is hard when we’re not necessarily confident about what advice to give, given how quickly things are changing, but simply being in touch to let clients know you’re there is vital. Most people accept we don’t have the answer; they are just looking for the next step.
Have a WIFLE
If your team is working from home, arrange a regular time for you all to have a call. Start the call with a WIFLE (‘What I feel like expressing’). In this practical empathy exercise, each team member be given a minute to share their thoughts. By having it as a standing agenda item, it gives ‘permission’ for participants to their share their feelings that they might otherwise feel awkward expressing.
You can encourage positive WIFLEs as well – good books they have read, nice things that have happened. It is an exercise in listening and being heard and also gives you an opportunity to thank them for all their hard work.
Look after yourself
You may not be able to change events around you, but you can control how you respond to them. Prioritise one thing every day that is just for you. This might be half an hour playing the guitar, going for a walk (if that option is available to you) or playing with the dog. This will give your logical brain a well-earned rest. Ensuring you’re getting plenty of sleep is also vital and should be a priority. You might want to think about what one habit can you start today that your future self will thank you for.
Adopt a mantra
I highly recommending using a mantra that you find encouraging and to keep you going when the going gets tough. A mantra is a phrase that you repeat in order to motivate yourself or to keep yourself focused. You can say it either out loud or to yourself, and/or write it down so you can see it often. It will help to calm your brain. One of my favourites is ‘I am safe, I am well, I trust myself’.
Remember, while at times you may feel lonely – you are not alone.
"You might want to think about what one habit can you start today that your future self will thank you for"