As a high-growth CFO, the pressure to meet financial targets, manage budgets, and make strategic decisions can be overwhelming.

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of the job and forget to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, this can lead to burnout, a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress.

In this post, we’ll discuss practical ways for CFOs to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

We’ll cover topics such as:

What is burnout?

As a high-growth CFO, you’re likely well aware of the many responsibilities that come with the role. From managing budgets and financial targets to making strategic decisions, the daily demands of the job can be overwhelming. However, when these demands become unmanageable, it can lead to workplace burnout.

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It can manifest in a variety of ways, including feelings of hopelessness, increased irritability, and a lack of motivation. It can also lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and sleep disturbances.

For CFOs, burnout can be especially challenging as it can impact not only your personal well-being but your ability to perform effectively in your role. It can lead to poor decision-making, decreased productivity, and even errors in financial reporting.

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Signs of burnout

It's important to remember that burnout isn’t a personal weakness, but rather a natural response to a great deal of stress.

Once you recognize the signs, you can take the necessary steps to address and prevent burnout to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Some common signs of burnout in CFOs include:

  • Feeling exhausted and drained, both physically and emotionally.
  • A lack of motivation and struggle to find enjoyment in your work.
  • Increased irritability and finding it hard to maintain professional relationships.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • A sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.

Common causes of workplace burnout

If you’re struggling with stress and burnout, you’re not alone. Workplace burnout is more common than you might think.

A study carried out by Deloitte reported that 77% of respondents have experienced employee burnout at their current job.

So, what’s the main cause of feeling burnt out?

The answer is stress.

91% of respondents said that having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work and is the main driving factor toward burnout.

Stress isn’t the only cause of burnout though. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common drivers:

  • Excessive workload: Having too much on your plate can be very demanding both mentally and physically, so don’t be afraid to push back when you need to.
  • Lack of control: A lack of autonomy or decision-making power can lead to feelings of helplessness and lack of control. This is often brought on when you feel like you have little to no influence over decisions that affect your job and/or personal life.
  • Unclear expectations: A lack of clear expectations or goals can lead to confusion and frustration. Not fully understanding what’s expected of you by the CEO, for example, can put you on edge.
  • Poor work-life balance: CFOs often work long hours, and it can be difficult to separate work from personal life, leading to burnout.
workplace burnout - CFO tips to overcome burnout

Helpful tips to avoid burnout as a high-growth CFO

When burnout strikes, it can be difficult to find a way out, which is why it’s so important to get help. Taking care of yourself is not only essential for your well-being, but it also enables you to make the most impact in your role.

Here are some practical tips to help combat high-stress levels at work:

1. Prioritize self-care: Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly.

2. Create boundaries: Set clear boundaries between work and personal time and stick to them. This can help prevent work from invading your personal life and causing unnecessary stress.

3. Take breaks: Taking short breaks throughout the day can help refresh your mind and boost your productivity.

4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and improve focus.

5. Seek support: It's important to have a support system in place, whether it be a therapist, counselor, or a group of trusted colleagues, who can offer guidance and support when needed.

It's important to remember that combating burnout is a continuous process, and it's essential to make self-care and work-life balance a priority.

Keep in mind that as a high-growth CFO, you’re not alone in this journey and it's important to seek support when needed.

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How to help support someone struggling with burnout

Addressing burnout in the workplace is so important. As a high-growth in-house or virtual CFO, you’re likely viewed as a leader alongside the companys CEO and other members of the C-Suite. This means that people look up to you and may come to you for support.

However, not everyone on your team will feel confident enough to approach you about their struggles. This is why it’s important to know the signs and try your best to support anyone on your team who appears to be struggling.

According to Deloitte, almost 70% of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization. And, very few offer any type of programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate it.

So, how can you help support your team?

Here are some helpful ways you can help someone who feels stressed and close to burning out at work:

1. Give them the green light to step away from work and take time to rest and recharge.

2. Listen to their concerns and offer support.

3. Encourage them to prioritize self-care and make sure they’re taking care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.

4. Lead by example. As a CFO, you can set an example by promoting a healthy work-life balance and encouraging self-care and well-being at work.

5. Provide your team members with resources, such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, or mental health days.

6. Review workload and expectations to ensure they are manageable and realistic.

7. Provide opportunities for growth and development to help your team stay engaged and motivated.

8. Recognize and reward good work to show you appreciate your team.

9. Create a positive work culture that prioritizes the well-being of employees and provides them with the support they need to de-stress.

If you’re experiencing burnout, know that you’re not alone, and there is help available. Seek support from your colleagues, manager, friends, family, or a professional counselor, and take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.

Remember, taking care of your well-being is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.

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