Research from small business platform Xero finds high-street decline, a heavy workload and Brexit uncertainty are increasing strain on small business owner’s mental health.
The study found that more than 83 per cent have experienced stress in the past six months, with 49 per cent saying they have been more stressed than normal and 17 per cent admitting they are ‘highly stressed’.
One in 10 admitted the stresses of running a business resulted in a negative impact on their mental health; causing sleepless nights (41 per cent), drinking more alcohol (21 per cent) and arguments at home (13 per cent).
The collective main causes of business stress, apart from managing staff (42 per cent), are admin (35%), Time Pressures & Multi Tasking - efficiencies (31%), keeping up with compliance (26%), Keeping clients happy ie. Customer Experience (23%). As many as 11 per cent felt vulnerable to economic conditions and 26 percent admitted feeling stressed by compliance issues.
Process Bliss were commissioned in 2018 by the Mental Health Foundation to understand how the work environment and prolonged periods of stress was effecting employees mental health. They found that employees experience lack of effective collaboration with others, repeated chasing up of colleagues, micro-management and lack of trust and guidance.
Reviewing the two reports together, rather than in isolation, uncover some interesting and yet "linked" findings. Not least that improved operational efficiencies combined through technology and best practice could really make the difference. From a managers perspective, efficiency gains creating more time to “work on” a business and to engage customers, staff and collaboration partners better. Whilst tools to improve collaboration, create more time for and increase trust in employees, are just some of the gains attainable with today's appropriate technology solutions.
See what Anne Allen, Director of People Experience at Xero has to say: “Running a small business effectively in testing times is about doing the small things well; streamlining administration and tax compliance, and using technology to simplify business management. Our study shows SMBs do feel the pressure of changing times, but work environments with the right technical, emotional and personal support can ease the strain.”
And the full report by Process Bliss can be found here: Causes and implications of workplace stress in SMEs.