Insurance · 2 March 2017

Small business owners reap the benefits of a healthy work-life balance

Work-life balance
Encouraging employees to consider their work-life balance could bring a line of benefits to a small business

Maintaining positive physical and mental wellbeing could be the key to success in 2017, as new research shows the importance of a healthy work-life balance to small UK business owners.

In its new “Make or Break” report, accounting software provider Xero found that almost four in five owners at small companies agreed their physical and emotional health had a direct impact on bottom line profits.

Encouraging a positive work-life balance across all levels of a business was ranked as the second biggest productivity boost among owners.

Some 85 per cent of small business owners agreed it was important to take breaks from work when necessary, while over half claimed they planned to take more time off from running their company this year than in 2016.

Xero’s UK managing director, Gary Turner, claimed sensible working habits could prove “vital” in solving Britain’s so-called “productivity puzzle”.

“Our report reveals that small business owners are actively encouraging a healthier work-life balance for themselves and their staff, being rewarded with increased productivity as a result,” he said in a statement.

Turner added: “Running a small business can be all-consuming but it’s great to see that small business owners are taking a holistic approach to their mental wellbeing and are ensuring that the health of their business doesn’t come at the cost of their own.”

Recent research also uncovered the negative impact of unhealthy employees on productivity – poor lifestyle choices such as smoking were found to cost small businesses an average 27.5 working days every year.

Commenting on Xero’s findings, Josephine Fairely, co-founder of organic chocolate brand Green & Black’s, emphasised the importance of a positive work-life balance for UK entrepreneurs.

“Your own health and wellbeing is of paramount importance as a small business owner and it’s great to see that small business owners are seeing the connection between personal health and their bottom line.”

Flexible working was found to be a rising force in the world of business productivity. Some 42 per cent of owners reported that stepping away from traditional nine to five office structures had benefitted their company.

Cloud technology was uncovered as a powerful tool for supporting flexible working, and owners could invest in paperless systems to support employees working from home.

Fairely added that it was “no surprise” to see the popularity of remote working among employees, with staff at Green & Black’s demonstrating increases to productivity when given the flexibility to work at home.

She offered three tips for small business owners that could boost productivity – encouraging staff to take their full annual leave, aiming for 10,000 steps a day to break the office routine, and treating mental health in the same way as physical.

Keep reading as we reveal the eight health and wellbeing apps that could support your workforce

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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