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How do accountancy staff feel about their wellbeing at work?

Author: Bupa

Published: 16 Jul 2020

In Partnership with ICAEW Member Rewards Partner
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At the end of last year Bupa partnered with YouGov to release our Workplace Wellbeing Census – a report into how employees in Britain really feel about their wellbeing. The census compares the different experiences of 4,007 people who work in businesses big and small across 12 industry sectors. This included 433 employees working in the accounting and finance sector.

Bupa asked people to think of ‘wellbeing’ as their emotional outlook, as well as the physical, mental, social and environmental factors that influence it, both positively and negatively. Bupa’s findings show that factors as diverse as a person’s salary and the quality of the relationship they have with their line manager can all have an impact on wellbeing at work.

Bupa’s key findings in the accounting and finance sector

  • Flexible working was valued positively by 45% of accounting and finance staff – among the highest across sectors covered in the census.
  • Salary had a positive wellbeing impact for 41% of accounting and finance staff. 
  • Workload had a negative impact on wellbeing for 40% of accounting and finance employees: among the highest across sectors. 
  • Wellbeing services – such as health insurance, mental health support, access to confidential phone lines, gyms and financial support – were available to 75% of accounting and finance staff. This was much higher than the average for all employees across sectors of 48%.  
  • 75% of accounting and finance employees rated their overall wellbeing as ‘good’ while 25% rated their overall wellbeing as ‘poor’. This compared to an average 76% good rating and a 23% poor rating for all industries we surveyed.

Flexible working

Flexible and remote working has been forced on many companies due to the current climate. But our census findings suggest that many employees would value a continuation of this where possible.

Jacqui Hall, Bupa Mental Wellbeing Nurse, says: “Widespread adoption of flexible and remote working across sectors right now is triggering lots of conversations about how and where we should work. Being able to work around personal life commitments and avoiding a commute can both have an impact on mental wellbeing. In our census, 18% of all employees across industries said their commute had a negative impact on their wellbeing.”  


Having an honest conversation about workloads is key. 40% of accounting and finance employees told us their workload is negatively affecting their wellbeing. There are signs that lockdown has further increased the pressure on many employees to work long hours and balance competing work and home life demands. If you’re a manager, looking to review and rework the way your team manages its workload could be a useful exercise. But it’s vital you uncover the root cause of the problem before making any changes. Completing a mental health review, to explore how things are in your team right now, is a good place to start. 

Businesses should also consider equipping their teams with the tools to work flexibly. Giving people the freedom to tailor their workload when they need to can pre-empt any negative impact on their wellbeing.

Jacqui says: “Watch out for burnout. There is a temptation for many of us to push ourselves harder than normal during this time to make up for all the disruption happening. But looking after your physical and emotional wellbeing is more important than anything else right now – and in the long run you’ll be more productive for it too.”

Wellbeing services

Across sectors, Bupa found that 67% of employees with access to health and wellbeing services at work value them. Yet Bupa found that whether you have access or not largely depends on the size of company you work for. Employees working for large companies are more likely to have access to support, compared to employees in smaller businesses.

In smaller organisations, where teams may be compact, poor employee wellbeing can have far-reaching consequences. Losing a team member even for a few days because they’re unwell, can increase the pressure on other employees to pick up the slack. 

Jacqui says: “Staff should be reminded of the support available to them, whether this is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), occupational health support or another way that management are able to help. The current crisis is an ideal time for employers and managers to review the services they make available.”   

Bupa offer for members

Bupa want to help keep ICAEW members happy and healthy. Which is why they’re pleased to offer a 10%* discount on Bupa By You private health insurance policy, which comes with benefits to help your health and wellbeing.

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Terms and conditions

*Applies to eligible ICAEW members on quotes for new Bupa By You policies. Discounts will be reviewed on 12 December 2020 and any changes will then apply to renewals and new quotes taken out after that date. Quotes are valid for 14 days. Terms and conditions apply.

^Bupa may record or monitor calls. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12.30pm Saturday. 

ICAEW introduces Bupa health insurance. Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 382985. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

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