Small businesses have a larger incentive to do good simply because they provide jobs for locals and pride themselves on creating a nice space to work. However, centralising wellbeing to any business is a challenge, and in particular for small businesses where budgets and resources are scarce. Here are our top tips for mental health support for small business owners.
How Can I Support my Employees’ Mental Health as a Small Business Owner?
At Everymind, we can understand and appreciate that going it alone and running a business is a scary ride. Not only do you need to stand on your own two feet, but you also need to provide those same stable two feet for your employees too.
Curveballs are an inevitable pitfall of running any business, although there are some strategies small business owners can adopt to ensure they are supporting the wellbeing of the company.
As the business owner, you play an integral role in developing and maintaining the wellbeing of your employees. Innovative ways, leading by example and encouraging various elements of the job all play a part in your employees’ welfare whilst in and out of work.
Small businesses often face with difficulties in getting strategies off the ground due to resources. Unlike large corporations, small companies lack the formality of a HR department, however, the absence of such can be remedied elsewhere.
Talk It Out
And we don’t just mean talk about the annoyances of the day. Instead, talk about mental health and get comfortable talking candidly about how you really feel. Business owners are self-reliant people, but being self-reliant disables us from asking for help when we need it. Talking about issues and our mental wellbeing helps to improve our productivity, not just in the moment but in the long run too.
Talking openly with a colleague or someone we trust protects our mental health and wellbeing. Whilst the stigma around mental health remains a large issue, it doesn’t mean it needs to remain that way in your workplace too. By talking about mental health as a whole, you’re removing any prejudice attached to it whilst increasing employee engagement.
Getting the help you or an employee needs starts with talking it out. The next step is to contact a mental health first aider, mental health practitioner or begin a wellbeing program in gaining the knowledge you require when assisting yourself and others. All methods can be reached in simple ways through the NHS or by therapy matching services such as Headroom.
Small business environments can often feel like enclosed environments that can result in us feeling alone, however, it doesn’t mean you are alone. Work-related stress can make us ill; the profound effect work has on our well being is second to none therefore it is wise to strike a work-life balance. Get your teams mingling and networking with other small businesses by renting desks at a co-working space. Often co-working spaces run regular networking events that expose workers from different businesses.
As we previously discussed, small businesses contribute to their local areas by providing jobs and opportunities within the community. Encourage your workforce to get more involved in community life through volunteering schemes with local charities, schools or organisations. Volunteering within our local communities helps to boost our quality of life and wellbeing.
Flexibility in our working life helps us keep on top of pressure and better manage our stress. Not only does it increase our working performance it improves employee engagement and gives employees the ability to manage their work and home life. Think about the ways in which you can be flexible, could you offer remote working, part time or flexitime?
We can understand as a small business owner that your to-do list is never ending, although it is really important you stay connected with your employees. Work is planned and managed more effectively when communication is consistent. Poorly managed workloads can lead to stress, anxiety and feelings of worry. Speak with your employees regularly to understand pressures they are under and how you can help to manage their stress.
Be Kind to Your Body
Did you know physical inactivity is identified as the fourth risk factor for global mortality? Our inner strength often comes from our physical wellbeing, therefore the healthier we are, the easier we find the ability to work.
Taking care of our bodies include; getting the right amount of sleep, eating healthily and doing the recommended amount of exercise per week. We all know lack of sleep affects our ability to concentrate, whilst ingesting the wrong foods causes us to feel irritable and sluggish come 4pm. Therefore if you’re hosting a meeting with food and snacks, think about ordering fresh fruit and healthy savoury choices.
Could you develop a fitness group within your organisation? Inactivity can lead to many health problems including anxiety, stress, diabetes and obesity. Research shows we should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Whilst working out alone is doable, we feel more motivated when we do it together, perhaps you could think about launching a running or cycling group in the workplace.
It is believed walking side by side helps us to open up (as well as getting our steps in), could you encourage employees to walk together during lunch or could you conduct walking meetings?
There is no denying that businesses are going greener, not just for the environment but for ourselves. The buildings in which we work can make a huge difference in how we feel day to day. The quality of our environment is dependent on air quality, natural light exposure and temperature. Improved air quality increases productivity by up to 11%, whilst our exposure to natural light increases our productivity by 23%. For office based business, think about a rotating seating system that enables staff to share window desks and increase their light exposure.
At Everymind we are advocates for switching off and disconnecting from technology when we need to (before bed and as soon as we wake up), however there are many apps on the market to help with our wellbeing and mental health. At Everymind, we aim to normalise the conversation around mental health at work through the use of technology. In doing so, we deliver tailored content direct to your employees fingertips to better improve their working life.
Interested? We’re currently running a 3 month free trial with no obligation to sign. Reach out today for a demo.