Australians are experiencing higher levels of workplace burnout than people in most other countries, a major report revealed last year. And the condition continues to be more prevalent in professional industries, including accounting.
The latest Microsoft Work Trend Index found that two-thirds of Australian managers report burnout – 25% higher than the global average. The survey partly blames what it calls ‘productivity paranoia’ for the elevated numbers – where hybrid working causes mistrust between employers and their teams. Other factors are overwork, long hours and a reluctance to seek help for mental health issues.
Many Australians don’t even realise that their health cover may include a comprehensive range of health and wellbeing programs designed to support them during stressful periods and prevent burnout.
Research by Australian psychiatrist Professor Gordon Parker found that burnout can also include forgetfulness, lack of focus and losing the ‘lust for life’.
“The sad aspect is that it’s much more likely to afflict ‘good’ people,” he says. “People who work hard at their job.”
A healthy diet, regular exercise and getting enough sleep are all important first steps to better mental health, but taking advantage of free or discounted programs can provide welcome support. Examples of such programs include:
- Exercise classes and gyms – those diagnosed with a specific condition may be able to claim towards these activities if they’re in a health management plan, depending on cover and annual limits.
- Sleepfit – to help tackle sleep problems, eligible members# can save 20% on an annual Sleepfit subscription.
- Weight management – eligible members can develop healthier habits, lose weight and prevent the onset of various chronic conditions with the Healthy Weight for Life Essentials Program.^^
Eligible members may also access a HealthyMinds check-in with PSYCH2U and talk online to a psychologist from their home**, giving faster access to qualified mental health professionals who can provide further support.
Making a difference
“We are delighted to see members having a greater awareness of the importance of prevention and earlier intervention,” says Linda Opie, head of health and wellbeing at HCF.
“Burnout can be debilitating, so taking steps to address your mental health as early as possible can make a real difference.”
Professionals with young families may have even more on their plate, so taking advantage of initiatives by health funds aimed at children of eligible members can boost their own mental health.
The Healthy Families for Life and Healthy Teens for Life resources provide tools to encourage healthy nutrition and exercise for kids and teens to support their physical and mental health. Others include access to child psychiatrists and online courses in boosting confidence. Incidences of burnout among accountants are worryingly high, and battling it alone isn’t easy. Opie suggests that anyone affected should check their health insurance, see what their entitlements are and take steps to get back to their full potential.
Benefits for CA ANZ members
HCF is the health insurance partner of the CA ANZ Member Benefits Program. To find out more, visit corporate.hcf.com.au/charteredaccountants
# Must have hospital or extras cover. Excludes Overseas Visitors Health Cover. The cost is $23.90 for 12 months for HCF members (RRP is $29.90).
^^ Must have hospital cover, have no chronic conditions, but have multiple lifestyle risk factors (e.g. smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition) and a body mass index of 26 or above. Clinical eligibility applies. See hcf.com.au/hwfl
**Service is available free to all members with hospital and/or extras cover for a limited time. See hcf.com.au/mental-support Excludes Ambulance Only, Accident Only Basic and Overseas Visitors Health Cover.