Running your own business can be extremely rewarding, but for many small business owners having the sole responsibility of a company’s success or failure can take its toll. With one in five people experiencing a mental health issue at some stage in their life, there is a greater need to have mental health support specifically within the workplace environment of small businesses.
Operating a small business is time-consuming and can result in you investing all of your attention on the growth of your company. Despite this, it is essential to take time to focus on yourself and your own mental wellbeing. As an employing small business owner or sole trader, you can face a range of unique challenges that can affect not only your mental health but that of your staff.
A typical response to the pressures and demands of business and life is stress. Workplace stress can occur when the demands from running your business and the requirements of your role are greater than your capacity to manage them or the resources and support available to you. Contributing factors to work stress include:
- Working long hours or overtime, working without a break or taking work home.
- Doing shift work.
- Time pressure, working too hard or with unrealistic targets.
- High mental task demands, or work that requires high-level decision making.
- Work that requires high emotional involvement.
- Hostile or discriminatory work environment.
While stress isn’t the same as other mental health conditions, excessive or long-term stress can increase your risk of developing a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. As an employer, some further ways to promote mental health initiatives within your business include encouraging members of your workplace to seek help, reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness, and fostering connectivity and communication. Managing mental health within your business by avoiding conditions that lead to excessive stress and encouraging awareness and support can have many positive outcomes and cultivate a mentally safe and healthy workplace.