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Mental, Health

SME Mental Health


More than 1 in 4 small business owners admit they are too busy to think about how to improve mental health and almost half (48 per cent) of SME owners admit that they should be doing more to support mental health in the workplace.

The research from Xero found that 1 in ten SME owners admitted the stresses of running a business negatively impacted on mental health, causing sleepless nights (41 per cent), drinking more alcohol (21 per cent) and having more arguments at home (13 per cent). SME owners called out managing staff, business admin and the responsible of the success of the company as the top three main causes of stress.

When asked what their business provided to support employee wellbeing, the most popular way was found to be allowing office pets (37 per cent), followed by offering support in workload management (35 per cent) and offering staff digital wellbeing tools such as Unmind, Headspace or Calm (33 per cent).

Other popular methods included a focus on improving the office environment, such as having plants (34 per cent) and ensuring there is enough natural light (29 per cent).

The top 10 areas causing the most stress for small business owners:

  1. Managing staff (42 per cent)
  2. All the admin (35 per cent)
  3. Feeling responsible for the success of the company (31 per cent)
  4. Keeping up with compliance (26 per cent)
  5. Paying for office overheads and expenses (24 per cent)
  6. Keeping clients happy (23 per cent)
  7. Imposter syndrome (20 per cent)
  8. Filing taxes (19 per cent)
  9. Time pressure (17 per cent)
  10. Multitasking (14 per cent)

The findings coincide with The Samaritans’ Big Listen 2019 event, which aims to raise awareness of mental health and the importance of listening and lending an ear to others. On 24th July, many of the charity’s 20,000 volunteers will be out across the country, handing out copies of their SHUSH listening tips and encouraging members of the public to take selfies wearing the campaign’s big ears and the share the photos on social media using #TheBigListen.


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