Episode #056 Building Workplace Resilience Against Anxiety and Depression with Beyond Blue Speaker Tim Hoopmann

Workplace Anxiety and Depression – how to succeed against it

Do you or someone you care about struggle with anxiety or depression? Maybe that person is your employee. Or perhaps it's you. In the past, if you were struggling with your mental health at work, you may have had to suffer in silence. But thankfully the conversation around mental health has evolved to include the workplace.

In this episode, Tim Hoopmann, a former bookkeeping business owner who has forged a partnership with Beyond Blue, joins Amy to speak about mental health and resilience.

Through Tim's volunteer work with Beyond Blue, he's given over 30 talks on the topic of building mentally healthy work cultures. As well as working with Beyond Blue in their development of resources and support specifically for our industry.

Key takeaway: “Whether you working solo or with a team, there are things you can do to monitor and improve your mental health. And you're not alone.”

Podcast Info

Episode: #056

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: Tim Hoopmann

Topic: Workplace Anxiety and Depression – how to start winning against it

Useful links
Read transcript

Amy Hooke:
Good morning everybody. Thank you so much again for joining me this week. And today as promised I have a special guest with me, it's Tim Hoopmann and so for those of you who don't know Tim already, Tim is a speaker and a trainer and he specifically speaks and trains in the areas of both mental health and also digital disruption and technology. So both very relevant topics to what we've been talking about in the previous episodes and also something that's super relevant to bookkeepers. And so Tim, also had a bookkeeping business for 10 years, so he knows what it's like and he now volunteers for Beyond Blue as a speaker, he's been doing that for about two years and has done over 30 talks on the topic that we're going to be talking about today, which is about building your resilience and taking care of your mental health or developing a mentally healthy culture. So, g'day Tim, thank you for joining me today.
Tim Hoopmann:
Hi Amy, thank you very much for inviting me, I'm very excited to be here. Today I'm sitting in my little home office up here in Sydney, so thank you for welcoming me on your show.
Amy Hooke:
No worries, thank you again for joining. So yeah, do you want to just give a little bit of an intro about yourself and we'll kick off from there, just giving a bit of a background on what you're talking about when you talk about mental health so that we give everyone a context for what we're going to be chatting about.
Tim Hoopmann:
All right, thanks very much. I ran a bookkeeping practice for over 10 years, it was desktop software and paper at the start, then along came clerical accounting software, Xero connected Apps such as Receipt Bank, so over that 10 years, we moved completely to the cloud, completely automated. And one of the things I'll say about that is as we changed and moved and offering to the customers the same, the way we delivered it was different. It's certainly at times using technology helped better manage the business and reduce certain levels of stress, not all of them, but some levels.
Tim Hoopmann:
So that was really important and since starting that business as you mentioned, I'm now a speaker and a trainer and in particular I love talking about mental health, healthy workplaces. The reason being is that personally, I find it at times quite, I'm still running my own business and struggle with anxiety. speaking for Beyond Blue is a joyous thing that I do, a wonderful organisation and they're out there helping not only individuals but also small business owners in understanding about mental health and how to look after yourself better.
Amy Hooke:
I love it. It's such an important topic and I'm glad that someone who has that background in our industry has stepped into this space and is able to bring that knowledge and I know that within our community people have struggled with mental health in the past and also some of our listeners have employees, so learning to take care of their employees is going to be really helpful as well. So yeah, did you want to just start off by talking a bit about what you mean when you say mental health so that we can get on the same page there?
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, I think that's a really good place to start because mental health covers a very broad range of things. But in particular, when I speak for Beyond Blue and I do other talking, we're just really focused on anxiety and depression because that will often affect a lot of people in Australia and it will also affect a lot of people running a small business. We just focus on our understanding of mental health in this talk being around anxiety and depression. And one of the key things I'd like everybody to take away first is that it's not a static state. When we talk about mental health, it's not, I'm good or I'm bad. And the continuum sits from positive, healthy, functioning green right through to the red which is the fear impact on everyday functioning.
Tim Hoopmann:
So it's actually not a static state and it's a continuum and the thing to remember is that we move along that continuum in our day to day life. Some days, we might have more stressful days, if someone's struggling from anxiety they might become more anxious, and they'll slide along that scale. The key thing is about how you deal with that then on an ongoing basis, how you become more resilient so that hopefully, you don't end up on the red part of the continuum which is quite severe. But also, you should never punish yourself if you end up there because for some people they do and they need help immediately. So it's a continuum, we slide along and the best thing to do is work out how we can manage better mental health for ourselves by understanding what we do in our every day life.
Amy Hooke:
That's fantastic, it's so helpful to actually think of that because I think people who have struggled with anxiety and depression, something that I've struggled with in my life as well and I can think of just that fear about, it's not I'm good or one end of the scale where I'm totally good or one where I'm totally bad, but I think that when somebody has depression or anxiety, they can't think in what way, so it could actually be, you can actually have that experience where you do have good days and you think, Oh wow, everything's great and I feel good and I'm productive and all that kind of thing and then when you have the bad day, then you can feel like, Oh no, it's happening again and it can be compounding and very stressful for a person.
Amy Hooke:
So I love that thought of yeah, the continuum, I guess, that's going to allow the person to be able to say, okay, this is where I'm at today and to be able gauge that, I guess. So that's yeah, really, really helpful. Thank you.
Tim Hoopmann:
Great. And we shouldn't punish ourselves if we're having a tough-
Amy Hooke:
That was another good thing you said, yes. That's so true. It's so easy to do, isn't it?
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, and I think if you think about our physical well-being, lots of people are incredibly fit, some people are mildly fit, some people could be a little fitter. So if you think of physical well-being, we again move along a scale. Mental health is a little bit like that, we move along a scale and we need to do things in our life to keep us physically fit, now we also need to do is things to keep us mentally fit.
Tim Hoopmann:
And I think one, just before we move on, the signs and symptoms, they could be physical, so it might be things like you have disturbed sleep or fatigue or some things like that so they could be quite difficult. It could be feelings, so things such as overwhelmed, irritable, maybe lacking confidence. They could be things that we are thinking about and this is a really important one because often, as we know in our life, our thoughts control so much of the outcomes of our lives but if we're thinking negative thoughts or patterns or we're feeling a bit helpless or hopeless or a bit worse worthless, that can be some signs as well. And then the final one is behavioural. So, we might have periods of poor concentration, reduced productivity that might be alcohol and drug use involved.
Tim Hoopmann:
So, the signs and symptoms can come in those four different areas, physical, feeling, thinking or behavioural and they all impact people differently. And one of the things that I will say that I've learnt from Beyond Blue is if things are continuing for greater than two weeks and that's ongoing every single day, finding out a bit more about it, go to your GP, check-in, have a check-up, just go and look after yourself. Again, after about two weeks, you really should be going, not sure this is subsiding, I'm not sure what's going on, do yourself a favour and a good place to start is check-in with your medical practitioner.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's fantastic. I mean, one of the things that we've had on our website actually over the years is a stress test where someone can actually gauge their levels of stress given that recommendation that if they have a certain score, they should speak to someone and get that professional help and I think the really good thing, I mean, I was surprised at how many of our community were actually saying that they were actually completing this and saying how stressed they were. And I think it's good because it seems, I mean, I don't know if you were experiencing this but the stigma surrounding mental health is definitely improving and so people feel more confident or more comfortable to ask for help?
Tim Hoopmann:
Absolutely. It definitely is true. If you think back five years, there was never really the depth of discussion around mental health without there being some major stigma involved. And I can tell you when I was running my own business, I was struggling, I wasn't really sure what I was struggling from, I didn't want that to be anything to do with my mental health. So I was quite in denial about it and that can be quite a dangerous thing. Fortunately, I got through all of that and things are good, but I think yes, we're much more open now. Some people are still very concerned about but there's a lot more support and there's a lot more discussion. And industries, businesses, corporations, you see so much more in the media now, and it's a positive discussion around taking care of yourself from a mental health perspective and that's a great thing.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's really good. It's just so good that there is that support that we can get these days and also that the stigma is less because I remember even just a number of years ago, if you shared with someone that you thought you might have anxiety or depression, I mean, one of my fears would have been that the person would minimise it or they might say something like, Oh you know, everybody has a bad day or they don't really understand. And yes, so I think it's good that we can come now and talk about these things and we're not going to be met with a blank stare or perhaps tell the person and then never hear from them again kind of thing, so.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, absolutely. And I certainly think the work Beyond Blue do and associations like R U OK? Day, it's really bringing to the fore that people should be able to ask those questions, people should be able to say, I'm struggling at the moment, the opportunity for people to go and ask somebody if they're okay and when listen to that conversation and that it is okay for people to say if they are struggling and people won't turn away from it.
Tim Hoopmann:
And often it's the kindness of words in someone just asking if you're okay because they've noticed something different that can have the greatest of impact. And it simply then that person goes and checks in with their local GP as a start or they share with a person and get it out and then that person can now maybe suggest what they could do in terms of going to the GP or reading up online or checking with Beyond Blue. So I think there's a number of options now where people don't have to be their psychologist or anything, but you can offer some helpful words.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right. And I think for the person on the receiving end of somebody who's coming to ask for help, I guess this conversation has helped also the person who's being told the information, I guess it works both ways. So if people are more open to the fact that someone might come to them and ask that or they're more open to the fact that they can now go to somebody and say, hey, I've noticed that, I don't know, what you would say, I guess you're going to help with that thing, a conversation. Oh no, there you go, I couldn't even think what to say, but yeah, have you been okay lately, I've just been a little bit worried about you or something like that. And then that person, I guess as the conversation gets more and more accepted, then that person's probably more likely to actually say, yeah, we'll actually, thanks for asking, there is something going on and not feel embarrassed that you've approached them to say something.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yes, indeed. And I think when we talk about a mentally healthy culture in a business and when we talk about responsibility for say, an employer or an employee or I think you mentioned before, I mean, that the number of the listeners are sole practitioners, they will still and engage with their clients and with their suppliers and other people around them. So making sure that the environment that they're in is mentally healthy is really good for them and it allows them to be in the best position to have a conversation with someone that they're concerned about. Because when you're interacting with people all the time, either your team, be they're client, be they're the suppliers, it's really important to have an awareness to understand what you can do, if you've seen something that you're a bit concerned about in terms of perhaps a change of behaviour or just some of the things people are saying?
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right. And you've talked about creating a healthy culture, a healthy workplace. So what are some practical things that a bookkeeper could do in their business? So whether they have a team or not, what are some things that people can actually do to prepare themselves for, to make sure that they've got something in place for that?
Tim Hoopmann:
At Beyond Blue a number of templates and things they talk about well-being plans and I would encourage people if they're not really sure where to start to grab one of those because it gives a bit of a guide on how to step through. But I'll give you just a few different areas in our talk today. One is around our lifestyle. So let's think of these as something you can do as an individual or if you have a team, something you can do in your business encouraging that to your team. But if we just focus on our own well-being.
Tim Hoopmann:
First and foremost, what's our lifestyle? So what are we doing in terms of exercise and that can be just a walk around the park, it doesn't have to be I want to run a marathon. Exercise is different for different people depending on their level of fitness. What am I doing to relax? Am I getting enough sleep? I've spoken to a number of people that have struggled over the years and this is a really interesting one. You talk to people and they're not getting much sleep or when they are, they're not sleeping very well.
Tim Hoopmann:
So what are you doing in your lifestyle to help for that? Have you got any hobbies? Have you got things outside work like taking a holiday? And most people go, I work for myself, I can't take a holiday. I understand that but at the same time, you need to work at how you can. In our community, there are people that will help you, if you're going on holidays and you need someone to support you, I'm sure you could find someone that will help you with your clients. You just probably need to ask or think a bit differently about it.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yes, so there's a number of things that we can do in our lifestyle that give us something outside of work. I would encourage people around exercise and sleep to really focus on that. I am the person that needs eight hours of sleep a night and I've managed to get that on a relatively regular basis when I don't, my days aren't as good. Now I'm not suggesting that's what everybody has to do, but sleep is really important. So start to put all those things together, put the ban on lifestyle and look at what you're doing in terms of your lifestyle, concentrate on things such as diet and how in your lifestyle you're treating yourself well.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah. I love how you just phrased it right at the end, that you're treating yourself well, I think that's so important. We talk about self-care and things like that, but when it comes down to the crunch, as you said, when you're a bit small business owner and you're in that place where you feel there's nothing I can do about this, if you really need a break, but you might be thinking, well I'm a small business owner, there's nothing I can do about it.
Amy Hooke:
But like you just said, then you challenged that thought and when you come together with somebody else that you're able to … Because I think part of what depression and anxiety are is that when you're suffering from that, you can be isolated and you think what's going on in your head is correct and just by someone coming along and saying, well actually there probably is something you could do or you could ask somebody and then you think, Oh gosh, I didn't even think to ask for help, it didn't even occur to me that I could ask somebody. So just little things like that is just, yeah, very helpful. And so you mentioned lifestyle, so what are some of the other areas that could be looked at?
Tim Hoopmann:
Our thoughts, and I touched on this briefly before. They're really important to have positive thoughts and I know that's not always easy, but a lot of people do that through having positive mantras that they refer to, they have lots of little quotes they refer to, I love all that stuff, practise gratitude, that's a really helpful one, it makes you feel better and sometimes it's a bit about changing your thinking, it's stressful running your own business. Yes, it's challenging, yeah but, sometimes if we stop to think like Tigger thinks rather than Eeyore, that can change around, they can be a bit more positive, we can think about things and happen and things will go wrong or a positive outlook towards it, that sometimes that'll help you get through things.
Tim Hoopmann:
Savour the good moments, often when you're in the small business running it yourself you never stop to pat yourself on the back and go, I just did a great job there. Again, if you've got a team, do that to your team, encourage gratitude, encourage patting each other, complementing each other and then one of the other things is, forgive you, often we're so hard on ourselves, I'm not sure did that right, I could've done better. So change your thinking around, forgive you, don't minimise your success, you all do really, really great work, be proud of it. And if someone doesn't think so, it doesn't matter. You do you. So I think our thoughts are really, really important and we need to take a Tigger approach.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right. And you have … Oh, sorry, just cut out there for a moment.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, that's right.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah. So I was just going to say, you mentioned earlier when we were chatting about social relationships as well, and I know that our community, we can be isolated obviously working from home or some of us, I mean, there's a lot of bookkeepers in remote areas as well, so did you want to just say a little bit about that?
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah. So if you think about our social relationships, they could be many and varied. So some it's around nurturing family relationships, sometimes family aren't that close so it's around creating a friendship community, nurturing those relationships, broadening your social networks, online is great but nothing beats sitting with someone and having a coffee and a chat. So even if you're in a rural or remote community or remote area, you can still find people like you that perhaps are a little lonely and you just didn't realise it. Join a club, start a hobby, volunteer, I can tell you now that volunteering for Beyond Blue is one of the most joyous things that I've done in my whole life. I've done many things but volunteering is up there and it makes me feel fantastic and it's about giving with expecting nothing in return but guess what? You get so much in return-
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right.
Tim Hoopmann:
Because people are grateful, they're helpful, look at the fire concert last night, the joy that people are bringing online, at concerts everywhere, it's wonderful. It makes you feel really good or maybe start a hobby. I think I mentioned that or the other ones, smile and say hello. I walk around smiling and saying hello to people and I don't mind if they don't say hello back, but you smile at someone and say hello, it makes you feel good and often you'll get the biggest smile back from someone or they might say something really nice and that can simply make your day feel better.
Amy Hooke:
I love that. That actually made my day. That made my day thinking about that, I mean, the community know my husband, he's very much part of our community and he does that when we go out on night walks, he says hello to everyone with a big smile and sometimes people don't say hello back and I always think, Oh, are you nervous that people won't say hello back and he's like I don't care, so I think that's a good attitude to share that joy even though you might not necessarily get anything in return, so it's really good.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah. Because it's about the joy you're giving out and if you get some back then it's great but I agree with your husband perfectly, I'm not expecting anything in return and if I get a really nice smile or hello, wow.
Amy Hooke:
That's bonus, yep exactly, that's so good.
Tim Hoopmann:
And then the final area that I'll touch on is our work, which we're spending a lot of time every day in. And the social relationships and the networking outside of it is really important to take us outside of the work environment and to put some boundaries around it. It's really easy to work continuously and then when you get home to continue to work or be on email or do stuff. Limit your working hours. I can tell you now when we had my practise and I had staff, we had rules around when they could send emails. I didn't want them sending emails to a client at 6:30 or 7:00 at night because then the client expected that-
Amy Hooke:
Expects it, exactly.
Tim Hoopmann:
And I can tell you now, I used to sit on the couch and I'd often check emails and it took a lot of strength not to reply to a client that had sent an email at 8:30 at night, but remember this maybe at 8:30 at night is when they've got their time to do those emails and get back to you. Maybe they're not expecting-
Amy Hooke:
They're not expecting your response.
Tim Hoopmann:
In a lot of cases they're not. But it's their time to do it. So, limit working hours and I always look, if you're given three hours to do something or you're given five hours to do something, if anyone's like me, I'll probably procrastinate that time and then finish it in the five hours, if I'm given 3 then I'll knock it out. You just think about putting some boundaries around timings and things like that.
Amy Hooke:
Excellent.
Tim Hoopmann:
Regular breaks are really important, tech downtime, I don't know whether it's a good or bad thing watching Apple telling me every day or week how much time I've spent on the phone, but it's a really timely reminder. It frightens the hell out of me, I'm not going to tell you what they said yesterday, but tech downtime's really important, switch off. Realistic deadlines, often what I find in the bookkeeping industry is incredible people that are givers, they want to help everybody and they allow unrealistic deadlines. So put some realism around that. Clarify job descriptions.
Tim Hoopmann:
If you're running your own business on your own or you've got staff, make sure you got a job description, clarify what that person's doing, tell the clients, this is what we're going to do for you, clarify where the boundaries are, touched about taking holidays. The other one is it's okay to say no, a no, with a full stop after it not no, but or no, I'm going to make an excuse for or I'm going to justify why I've said no. We're looking at realistic deadlines or clarification sometimes it's okay to say no. And often people will actually be grateful that you've been up front to say that rather than taking more on knowing that you're not going to be able to make those deadlines.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah. That's fantastic. That's so helpful. Just showing us all those different areas and it actually makes me think a lot. So I have one employee and she's incredibly productive and proactive and so what I do is I regularly set aside time to go to her and just check-in and say, because obviously it's very easy to go, Oh, this person's really proactive and so I can just throw anything at them and they can handle it. But having those regular check-ins just make sure that the workload hasn't got too much because what I notice is that I get in my zone and I can just go this, this, this and pass anything on.
Amy Hooke:
But those check-ins are really helpful and what can happen is that during that conversation, she might actually pass a few jokes back or say actually is and I found that really helpful and it gave me insight into the flip side of working with my clients where they get in the groove with you and if they think that you can handle it, they'll just keep moving forward. And they're not necessarily thinking, Oh, I'm just going to overload this person, they're just in there, they're in their zone and as you said, Tim, if they send you an email at 8:00 PM and you reply, they'll think, Oh, cool, my bookkeeper works at 8:00 PM and that's when I do my bookkeeping, so during that time, I can get replies and so having that-
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, and don't reply and don't feel guilty about it.
Amy Hooke:
Feel good about it. Exactly.
Tim Hoopmann:
Feel good about it, just figure out, okay, that suits up them.
Amy Hooke:
Exactly.
Tim Hoopmann:
The other thing is with the change in technology, I don't know if it's technology, we can have paperless offices, we can get information from our clients without having to go to their office. There are alternatives to email, there's Slack and all sorts of other things and if you are really up front with your clients about how you work and the boundaries, they will be more grateful to you in the long run because they'll know what the rules of engagement are-
Amy Hooke:
That's right.
Tim Hoopmann:
And I can tell you now, as soon as you've got those set up, it helps reduce stress.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right. For everybody. So, that's perfect and I'm just, I don't know, I've just had a big smile on my face the whole time because everything that you've shared with me today, it's so fits in with what we're talking about at the moment, it's fitting in with what we've talked about in the last couple of sessions and it also ties into the next session where I'm going to be talking specifically about organising their calendars and things like that. So it's really, I love the way you've slotted in and just, we're on the same page there and you've really, but you've added such depth to the conversation obviously, they're going to get sick of just hearing my voice all the time. So I love the fact that you've been able to come in and bring this some depth and also some really helpful tips and information. So just before-
Tim Hoopmann:
Just-
Amy Hooke:
Oh, you go.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, I was just a couple of things just to summarise, is that what you were going to say as we were about to close off are we?
Amy Hooke:
Well I wanted to ask, I did have another question actually because-
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, cool. Do that then we'll do a little summary.
Amy Hooke:
Yeah. Cool. Because two things we talked about before we did the recording was that bookkeepers are dealing with business owners in distress and the other thing you talked about is obviously, we've talked about a little bit about disruption and that's another happy topic for you. So in the context of, there's disruption happening in the industry and business owners, I mean, I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of bookkeepers being very poorly treated by business owners and so when you said that business owners in distress, I thought, Oh, I really want to talk to you about that and just get a bit of insight on that specific topic.
Tim Hoopmann:
Okay. That actually it's really, really good that you loop back to that because if we go about looking after ourselves and we go about working on our own well-being and we then come into contact with lots of people. So let's talk about bookkeepers coming into contact with their client and often quite rightly, I have heard stories, I've also been standing there in a stressful situation with a client going off at me, but, Oh, I look back now and hindsight's a wonderful thing. So here's my hindsight. I look back now and because of what I've learned, I now could go back and identify clients that I couldn't hear from for awhile, so they were withdrawing, they were potentially angry at times they would vent at times.
Amy Hooke:
Yes.
Tim Hoopmann:
Nothing would be good enough. And there would always be a problem, so they would pick sometimes minute things and go, you can never get anything right. Now this is just some general, it's not like that happened all the time, not everybody's like that. But over the years, those were some of the situations. Do you know where I went first up? I went, okay, oops, what's wrong with Tim and what's wrong with Tim's team and what's wrong with Tim's bookkeeping business?
Tim Hoopmann:
So I went straight there because I was being told that we weren't doing a good job. So I went straight to that and that's usually where most people go. What I've found is that looking back now a number of those people are avoiding you, it was because something else is going on, when they were angry, that was a symptom of something else going on. I don't know what they were, but it could have been a family situation, it could have been that they knew that there were some things coming up or they knew there were clients that they were about to lose, they'd been given notice on them that we didn't know about. There's a whole range of things that could be going on.
Tim Hoopmann:
Now if I was to go back then, I would be easily be able to go, okay, this is not who I know about you, is there something else going on? Let's deconstruct this a little bit, what's really going on with the work we're doing or is there something else going on that you might want to share with me? I'm not necessarily can solve all your problems, but maybe if you share a little bit we can together work on supporting you in that. Probably that's the conversation I would have had in hindsight, but I wasn't prepared then. So part of what I do now is do things like this to talk to people to say, hey, it might not be about you, it actually might be-
Amy Hooke:
Yeah. Yes, that's right. And because in that moment when someone's scolding you or nitpicking or questioning your bills, it can feel like it's about you because it can be an emotional trigger and you've hit the nail on the head with another thing that we've been talking about, which I mean, I go on about this in nearly all of my episodes about having empathy for the client and the reason that I share about that now is because back in the day when a client would be acting in a distress way, I used to automatically say, Oh, that client's being abusive, and I'd go to Facebook and have a big rant about them and everyone would jump on the bandwagon and say, I'll ditch them, get rid of them, that kind of thing and I had this huge eye opener when I closed down my own bookkeeping business and went into being just a regular business owner.
Amy Hooke:
And then I had to hire my own bookkeepers and I went through this whole situation where the shoe was on the other foot and I thought, Oh my gosh and I could see situations where I was even tempted to respond a way that a client might have responded back in the day and think, Oh, okay, I remember how that felt, so I'm not going to do that. And so getting on the episodes now, I'm talking about, okay, what might be going on for the client? Because people generally don't go around trying to act mean or hurt people and as you said, you've pointed that out and hit the nail on the head that if they're in distress or they're suffering from some mental health issues or whatever's going on.
Amy Hooke:
And the thing I try to remind bookkeepers of is that, we're dealing with people's money, we're in the area of finance, so we're the business owner, they might not be able to vent at their marketing person for example, maybe they do, but the bookkeeper's right in there and they sometimes bring in to watch things that are stressful for the business owners such as the business is not performing as well as they thought and so then that can open up a bit of a can of worms and potentially even have the bookkeeper become that's the person, the business owner associates with those feelings and there's a whole kettle of fish there. So.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, most definitely. And I remember in the past saying to a staff member, you pick up the phone and call a client and if they're in a bad mood, maybe one of their clients is just dismissed them, saying, sir we don't need your services or your products anymore. And so they're in a bad mood, so don't always take it on. It is hard and when you're in a service role, you want to help them and fix it. Sometimes there's things that you can't fix, all you can do is often offer a kind word or a kind ear.
Tim Hoopmann:
And just one other thing I find interesting that I would comment on and you meant it as well about venting with your team and all that. Sometimes the Facebook groups and the communities that we're in, if you just share a kind word, it might actually be better even when other people are angry or cranky or I'm going off about something, sometimes it's best to acknowledge that maybe they're having a bad day, but don't get involved in it because then it just fuels it.
Tim Hoopmann:
And sometimes a kind word can just be the best thing you can do. And we're not always perfect and people make mistakes and sometimes if you just do a kind word or listen, it can be a really good thing to do because one day someone will do that for you.
Amy Hooke:
That's right. Yeah. It's so good. So helpful. And just the last little bit about the disruption that obviously we've been in, I mean, back when you were running your business, you made the transition into the cloud and automation and everything during from paper bookkeeping and desktop software. And so we've seen a massive change in the industry and it's still constantly changing. So in the context of that disruption, is there anything else that you wanted to add or?
Tim Hoopmann:
Okay. I think there's probably a couple of things. One is, don't try and fix everything all at once. Sometimes I think people are going, Oh my God, there's all these parts of my business I want to automate and change and I want to do it all now. Do one thing really well and then move to the next and prioritise it. And if you're on your own work at it and maybe ask somebody else how they've gone on their journey. If you've got a team, talk to the team. So I think that's really important.
Tim Hoopmann:
The other thing is that you don't need everything, so you don't need every App and every piece of software out there, you just need a few that'll do a really good job on your business and then be really clear around what's the strategy around that. So why am I committed to this? Why am I doing, what is it going to do that'll helped me, my team and my client? And really question that up front rather than just jumping in and using it yourself.
Tim Hoopmann:
And I think one of the other things in all of these cases when you're talking about reducing stress or better well-being is the more you understand what causes you stress and those people around you, the easier it is to manage, not to fix, to manage. So think about those things and encourage other people to do the same. And then going back to what you just asked, maybe what you do is the things that are stressful for you, you fixed first your business.
Tim Hoopmann:
So I can tell you when I had my business, if I didn't get paid or if we had big list of clients that were saying that we're going to pay or not pay, that was an unbelievable stress to me. So we moved to direct debit and that was a priority for me, for better mental health for me. For someone else that might go, Oh, I don't mind if they just pay a bit late, it's different-
Amy Hooke:
Yeah, that's right. It's different for everyone.
Tim Hoopmann:
Relations for different people. So find the things that cause you stress, understand them and work out how to manage them.
Amy Hooke:
So good. It's so good. I'm just, yeah, I'm so happy that you were able to join me today. And is there anything else that you wanted to add onto the end before we talk a little bit about your upcoming speaking event that people might be able to catch you up?
Tim Hoopmann:
Okay. All I would say is there's help out there, obviously, Beyond Blue do a magnificent job and I had a lot of association with them. So they have a 24/7, seven days a week hotline that's manned by clinical staff. So it's not just people in the line, they are manned by clinical staff. So there is somebody out there that can help you 24/7. So if you need an ear, you need someone to talk to, there are people out there. Beyond Blue is not the only one but I would mention them cause I've had an association with them. Their hotline number is 1300224636. There is help from other people out there. So, and there is help and I would encourage people to get help sooner so that you can look after yourself and you can become more resilient to the stresses of life, which aren't going away.
Amy Hooke:
That's right. And so I will include that phone number in the notes of the podcast and also you mentioned lifelines so I'll put that number in there as well. And you did mention a little bit earlier that Beyond Blue, have some plans that people can download. So if you can send those to me or give me a bit of a pointer, which ones you're referring to I'll include those in the link as well and finally you're going to be speaking on the 25th and 26th of March at the Accounting Business Expo in Sydney and so do you want to just tell us a little bit about what you're going to be speaking on and what people can expect to see if they popped in?
Tim Hoopmann:
Okay. On the first day, either the last couple of years I've done talks on Accounting Business Expo on mentally healthy workplaces and culture. I've been very, very fortunate that Beyond Blue have joined me on stage and they are joining me again because this year we're going to talk about the subject being don't take it offline, how to deal with overwhelmed clients. So, bookkeepers and accountants who deal with hundreds and hundreds of small business owners as we've spoken about before, often say that they're being distress and don't know what to do.
Tim Hoopmann:
Beyond Blue put together a guide and we're going to go through that guide and the guide is absolutely a must for anyone or anyone that you are bookkeepers who are dealing with clients and give them lots of really handy tips that will talk about stuff that we've talked about today, it'll have a reference to the well-being plans and it allows you to start a conversation without being fearful, without thinking I'm going to have to be the support person for this client if I have a talk to them and without it being confrontational.
Tim Hoopmann:
So I would encourage you to come along. If you're in Sydney so Accounting Business Expo on the Thursday, I think we're around lunch-time about 12:50 and then next on 26th, I'm talking about how valuing yourself can improve your business and your mental health. And we touched a little bit about on that problem about taking care of yourself, valuing yourself as you're running your business so that you know your business and you are out there providing the best service you can and ensuring that you're looking after yourself, you're getting paid to the value you are and that you're looking after your mental health. So a little bit more on the theme we talked today, if you can't get to both, I would absolutely encourage you coming to, Don't Take It Offline. Thanks, Amy.
Amy Hooke:
Amazing. Amazing. And so after that happens, will I be able to access some resources to share with the community to follow-up on that, for example, you talked about Beyond Blue, creating a guide, will that be available?
Tim Hoopmann:
Absolutely.
Amy Hooke:
Excellent. Great. That's fantastic. I love the fact that Beyond Blue, actually care about bookkeepers and accountants, they're making it something and I guess that's because of your input that they've seeing that as an area that actually needs some help and resources provided for them, so it's really great.
Tim Hoopmann:
Yeah, I think that's a real credit to them that they're going … Small businesses is such an important part of Australia, we need to specifically provide them with some information, and advisors are our priority, so that's great.
Amy Hooke:
Fantastic. Well thank you so much for your contribution not just today but to the industry as a whole and the work that you're doing with these guys is, yes, it's fantastic and thank you for coming on the show.
Tim Hoopmann:
What an absolute pleasure, Amy. I'm really happy to be invited here today and I thank you for allowing me to share this information with your bookkeepers and the members and I really hope they can get away with one or two things that will help them in their everyday life.
Amy Hooke:
Absolutely. I'm sure they will. All right. Well thank you for joining me and thank you everybody else, have a fantastic weekend and I will see you again next week as promised. We're going to be continuing on with our work about managing our time and you can catch up on the last couple of episodes prior to this one as well, if you want to get on the same page and we'll be going through some practical ways that you'll be able to set some boundaries in your calendar and to be able to manage your time better so that you don't get overwhelmed. I will see you then next week, you won't see me, but you will hear me and I'm looking forward to next week. See you then. Bye

 

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