The Great Resignation, or the Big Quit, as coined by Professor Anthony Klotz from Texas A&M University, is the ongoing trend of individuals quitting their jobs in 2021. At the start of the pandemic, businesses were anxious to rise to the challenge of continuing to operate remotely. However, in 2021, many employees felt exhaustion set in, and more individuals began to quit their jobs. Research from the 2022 Salary Guide from Robert Half indicates that the Great Resignation trend could accelerate across Canada. The impact of the Great Resignation has also been an ongoing issue in the United States - the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021, and resignation levels have remained abnormally high.
The Great Resignation shows that people are more willing to quit their jobs than in previous decades, but why? One factor that has accelerated the Great Resignation is the impact of employee burnout which has been widespread throughout the pandemic.
Technology: Friend and Foe to a Worker’s Burnout
Employee burnout has become a concern for all businesses, including CPAs. Employers must be able to recognize the signs of burnout and encourage their teams to work through it and resolve the issue, rather than internalize it. Burnouts occur when there is a prolonged period of physical, mental and emotional stress and fatigue; it isn’t an experience that occurs suddenly, but rather a burnout is a gradual process, and often you aren’t even aware that it is happening until it is too late.
With the rise of remote and hybrid workplaces, employees can feel the strain of not having a proper work-life balance in their lives – technology enables us to stay connected to our businesses and clients, but it can also make us feel incredibly drained over a prolonged period. Technology in the workplace is quite often the cause of employee burnout because it can make the employee feel like it is difficult to switch off, even when you’re at home. So, it’s not just about work-life balance but also work-life boundaries.
While technology can trigger employee burnouts, technology can also be used to help recover and avoid burnouts at work. The challenge is discovering the right balance of technology that allows employees to feel content and productive at the same time, without feeling overwhelmed and drained. Here are 3 tips on how technology can help prevent work burnout.
Build work flexibility into your technology stack
The pandemic brought about a new challenge for auditors to try to balance work and their personal lives, and this has pushed for a more flexible stance in their work environments to accommodate different circumstances.
Cloud computing allows for more flexible work environments for your clients and your workplace. Offering your clients and employees the ability to work collaboratively on projects remotely makes information more accessible, and as noted in our blog on ‘Why Cloud Technology Improves Teamwork and Collaboration for Auditors,’ how technology helps foster teamwork and improves collaboration is limitless.
Communications and workflow automation technologies have created an environment that allows auditors to continue to work remotely. Auditors can continue to connect with clients by using virtual meeting technologies, and auditing platforms like Auvenir, which has allowed auditors to continue to meet, coordinate, and conduct audits remotely, while maintaining the quality of the engagement.
The flexibility of cloud technology ensures that no one is left out of the loop, meaning that everyone involved in an audit will have access to real-time and up-to-date information whenever they need it, which makes accessing accurate information convenient for the auditor and the client, and can result in an improved work-life balance.
Automate tasks and procedures when possible
Audits have been transformed by automation and artificial intelligence. Technology and humans can work together to save time and allow auditors to focus on tasks that require more human judgement to achieve. The challenge becomes determining when to automate, and as Jeff Borschowa, Business Coach and Former CPA, noted in his previous blog, “We want to automate the mundane tasks so that we can focus our time and energy on building authentic relationships with our clients.” When firms can automate more mundane tasks, they can focus their energy on prioritizing their client’s experience.
One of the goals of automation is to free up repetitive tasks. A very labour-intensive aspect of auditing is the collection of all the required information – this can be a huge energy drain on an auditor. When an automation platform is utilized, this improves the quality of the audit and increases efficiency by employing data persistence to streamline engagement workflows. Automation can take care of tasks that humans do not want to do or shouldn’t have to do – auditors should not have to spend hours searching for information when there is a better option.
Platforms, like Auvenir, are built to help auditors audit smarter – we understand that it is important to our users to automate processes when it makes sense, and we are focused on providing the best user experience for our customers by simplifying and streamlining the audit, review, and compilation process to deliver an enhanced client experience.
Improve communications and support
Communication in the workplace has evolved – we are no longer tied to our desks answering phone calls, and the days of faxes and paper-memos have ended at most jobs. Auditors increasingly have developed a more technologically connected firm environment by incorporating virtual platforms in their day-to-day tasks, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and digitizing their audit procedures – with the rise of cloud platforms, work is now saved in the cloud instead of on a desk. Increasingly, CPAs have felt the impact of technological advances on their firms, and how they are managing client information.
Often the question of security arises when using cloud-based tools. Eric Barsky, CPA, CA, Senior Product Developer, at Auvenir highlights in his previous blog that, “Using a cloud-based tool will better protect your confidential client documents, allowing you to benefit from maintaining digital audit documentation and collaborating with your clients virtually in a secure, centralized location.” Being able to work together with cloud platforms allows speedy and seamless partnerships. Technology can bring auditors and clients together and having access to the right information in one place can reduce help reduce stress, and time spent searching for data for an auditor to meet a tight deadline with a client.
Have the right balance of people, processes, and technology
As stated earlier, technology can feel invasive. However, it is important to leverage technology to improve processes and access to information when it is possible. Auditors must reimagine their current environment with the ideal balance of people and technology.