Beat the Heat: How to Avoid Work Burnout During Tax Season

Burnout can strike any employee in any industry. But the risk of work burnout is especially high for accounting and finance professionals during tax season, when client demands intensify, workloads rise, and April 15 deadline pressure mounts.

How do you know if you’re at risk for work burnout (or are already in the red zone)? Here are some common signs, sources of stress, and solutions:

Clear signs of work burnout

Burnout can impact you physically or mentally, and on the job or off. Some clear signs:

  • You wake up tired and stressed

  • You dread going to work

  • You’re less engaged and productive

  • You’re irritable and impatient

  • You’re making more mistakes

  • You’re sick more frequently

  • You count the seconds until you can leave the office

Sources of workplace stress

Because work burnout can undermine your health and emotional well-being — not to mention your career — it’s imperative that you address the problem quickly. Start by trying to identify the root cause(s) of your stress. For example:

  • Is the work beyond your capabilities?

  • Is your boss too demanding?

  • Are the late nights required during tax season wearing you down physically?

  • Is work-life imbalance preventing you from engaging in activities you enjoy, including spending time with family and friends?

Once you’ve identified the key issues contributing to work burnout, strategize solutions. For example, if long hours are disrupting your family life, ask your boss to consider alternative work options, such as telecommuting or flextime.

Solutions for avoiding or rebounding from burnout

To keep work burnout at bay during tax time, try some of these strategies:

  • Give yourself something positive to look forward to: Plan to do something fun after tax season, such as going on vacation.

  • During each workday, take several short breaks to let your mind rest and recharge. Step outside to get some fresh air, make a cup of tea, or have a quick chat with a coworker.

  • Exercise regularly and be sure to eat healthy foods that can help you feel energized.

  • Bring headphones to work so you can listen to music you enjoy.

  • Ask your boss to consider calling in reinforcements if the stress is overwhelming. Many employers hire temporary accounting staff as a way to prevent their core team from succumbing to work burnout.

Remember that heavy workloads can take a toll on those around you as well. Reach out to your family and friends for support during tax season. By covering all your bases, you can guard against the harmful effects of burnout and have reason to celebrate come April 16. Best of luck!

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