Before we know it the end of the year will be here. That means that tax season is just around the corner. This is an extremely stressful time for individuals, who are concerned about filling out their IRS forms correctly and whether or not they will be receiving a refund.
The American Psychological Association found that nearly 75% of Americans cited money as a significant source of stress, with increased stress occurring between married couples who are faced with examining their money habits and financial goals. Stress impacts your employees through decreased productivity and physical health issues that lead to increased absenteeism. If not addressed appropriately, high stress levels can lead to a myriad of issues.
As the new year approaches, there are steps you can take to make sure tax season does not put too much stress on your employees.
Offer financial wellness benefits. Since money is a top stressor of your employees, mitigate it through financial wellness benefits. From access to a financial adviser to investment opportunities, you can help employees make the most of their money. This is also a good opportunity to educate employees about FSAs and HSAs to give them peace of mind about being prepared for unexpected medical or personal costs.
Hold tax prep seminars. In addition to providing ongoing financial wellness tools, offer tax prep seminars around this time of year. Bringing in an expert to give advice and assist your employees through the process will ease a lot of their stress and give them the opportunity to ask questions and get guidance. It also allows them to use part of their workday to learn about filing their taxes properly, since many people struggle to make the time for that outside of working hours.
Provide general wellness support. Taking the time to focus on wellness can mitigate the negative effects of stress. If you are not currently offering employee wellness benefits, consider adding them to your 2020 benefits package. Things like step counting bonuses, gym membership discounts, or onsite counseling can help employees channel stress in a healthy way and prevent it from taking a toll on their physical health and workplace performance.
Additional support for employees in the tax field. On the other side of the coin, those that work in accounting feel the stress of tax season differently. The busy season for accountants can lead to employee burnout, which can be even more stressful than financial stress. For those who manage employees in an accounting firm, make sure employees have the resources and tools they need to make it through busy season with minimal stress. Consider periodically offering chair massages, catered meals, team games, and wellnesses benefits so employees can find a solution for their stress that works for them while feeling supported by their employer.
Tax season can bring a lot of stress to your employees, whether they work in tax preparation or not. The key to helping your employees avoid the negative impact of stress is being proactive, and offering benefits that can help them through this challenging time and going forward.