Motivating staff and maintaining a happy workforce is now a top priority for more than one in two small business owners (55%) – rising to 60% among younger bosses (those aged under 35) – according to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance.
Hitachi Capital’s new survey comes at a time of growing concerns regarding the mental health of the nation, with almost two in five UK adults (39%) reporting that the pandemic has affected their well-being. The survey of 1,447 small businesses across the UK suggests that mental health and well-being are being taken seriously in the workplace and many small business owners have also explored how they make positive lifestyle changes at home.
Looking after others
When asked about the work environment and looking after staff members since the easing of lockdown, family-run small businesses emerged as those most likely to be taking proactive measures to support the wellbeing of their employees (18%). In helping to maintain a positive mindset in the workplace, many bosses have organised motivational team meetings (13%) and initiated one to one pastoral calls with employees (12%). Humour has also had its place – 9% of family run businesses have held staff quiz nights online and 9% have done zoom calls in fancy dress.
Finding the right balance
Independent to looking after members of staff in the workplace, many small business bosses have made wellbeing changes at home – and again this move as led by family run small businesses. Nine in ten owners of family-run small businesses (90%) said they had been doing a number of things at home to improve their positive mental health. The main areas included a change in diet, such as cooking more meals from scratch rather than eating ready meals (32%), spending more time in the garden (30%), being more aware of stress (25%) and taking time out of the work day to go for a decent walk (25%).
Top 10 things small business owners are doing to maintain a healthy and positive outlook:
- Cooking more meals from scratch rather than eating out/buying ready meals (32%).
- Spending more time in the garden (30%).
- Being more aware of mental health issues / stress (25%).
- Going for a decent walk each day during the working day (25%).
- Working more flexible hours (23%).
- Making more effort to watch my weight/ follow a good diet (22%).
- Speaking more regularly to my parents / extended family (21%).
- Get more sleep / go to bed earlier (20%).
- Working more from home (18%).
- Being more of an active parent (17%).
Joanna Morris, Head of Marketing & Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented:“Keeping staff morale up can be difficult, but the simplest acts of supporting staff wellbeing can go a long way in these challenging times. Family-run businesses emerge as those most likely to rate the importance of staff wellbeing and these bosses walked the talk at home by taking the most steps to look after their health and wellbeing. Family businesses tend to be more traditional, more community based and their heritage is built on relationships between people.
“Wellbeing and mental health are issues that have affected a large majority of people during lockdown. So that there is a clearer understanding on how employees can be better supported by the business, Hitachi Capital are encouraging a more open conversation in the workplace on mental health issues. Our research shows that at this time especially, it is more important than ever for small businesses to manage both physical and mental well-being for themselves and their employees.”