A new campaign to address the health and wellbeing of the UK’s small business community has been launched in response to an alarming growth in issues across the UK’s workforce.
Sickness and absence costs the UK £29bn a year, and research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that the number of small businesses seeking advice on mental health has doubled in the last five years.
The new drive will see the FSB teaming up with Public Health England and other organisations such as mental health charity Mind, and aims to help its members and the wider SME community reap the benefits of a positive approach to wellbeing.
Together, the organisations have produced a guide to provide small business owners and the self-employed advice on how to approach conversations about stress, mental health, managing pressure and loneliness, and other challenging topics.
Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, 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 such as encouraging more activity and regular breaks.
“There’s never going to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and 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 small business owners find the ideas that work for their business, themselves and their staff.”
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “Whether you are self-employed or run a business, mental health should be a top priority for you. It is really important to promote wellbeing and take steps to tackle the work-related causes of poor mental health among your staff, as well as looking after your own wellbeing.
“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. There are positive steps that you can take to promote good mental health including promoting the benefits of volunteering, up-skilling and continued learning, practicing mindfulness, building connections with others, and being active.”
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