Insurance · 18 September 2017

FSB campaign launched to address workplace mental health and wellbeing

mental health
The number of small businesses seeking advice on mental health has doubled in five years

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new health and wellbeing campaign in response to the growing number of mental health conditions amongst UK workers, including small business owners and self-employed.

Together with health advocacy groups, including Public Health England and Mind, the mental health charity, the FSB has developed guidance to give small business owners and self-employed a range of fresh ideas to help tackle and improve mental health and wellbeing.

The “Wellbeing in Small Business” short guide will include advice on how to begin conversations about the effects of stress, loneliness and mental health issues for small business owners and employees.

The guide will include tips for maintaining mental health, including through flexible working, networking, investing in the physical environment at workplaces and developing in-work exercise groups and physical activities.

The campaign is launched alongside recent FSB research which revealed that the number of small businesses seeking advice on mental health issues has doubled over the last five years, with the yearly cost of sickness absence to UK business currently siting at around £29bn.

According to the study, some 60 per cent of workers in the UK’s private sector are now employed by smaller firms, however the vast majority of mental health support, for UK employers and staff alike, has until now focussed on larger companies.

Welcoming the campaign, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, Emma Mamo, commented: “Workplace wellbeing is increasingly at the top of employers’ agendas, which is welcome. A recent Mind survey found that 56 per cent of workers said they found work very or fairly stressful.

“We all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and it can fluctuate from good to poor for any number of reasons. Mentally healthy workplaces are associated with engaged, productive and loyal staff so it’s in everyone’s best interests to prioritise mental health at work.”

FSB national chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “Small business owners can play a vital role in improving the lives of their employees through a variety of actions – from innovative and new ideas to simple steps.

“Not every idea will be suitable for every business. We are, however, seeing some real innovation from small business owners for themselves and their teams. It is important that owners find the ideas that work for their business, themselves and their staff.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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