Health is wealth: Why SME owners need to prioritise mental wellbeing

prioritise mental wellbeing

People are a business’s greatest asset. But with small business owners working overtime to come out the other side of the pandemic, anxiety, depression and burnout is a real concern. With the lines between work and personal life now blurred, prioritising mental wellbeing and work/life balance becomes more important than ever. 

Taking care of yourself and your team isn’t just the right thing to do in times of crisis. It’s also the best thing you can do for your bottom line. 

When people feel supported, rested and recognised, they can do their best work. Prioritising the mental wellbeing of everyone in your team — and leading by example — will keep people engaged and motivated during difficult times.  

In fact, prioritising mental wellbeing and engagement could be the key to your business surviving and thriving post-pandemic. Research shows that companies with engaged employees perform up to 202% better than those with disengaged teams. 

Here’s how to prioritise mental wellbeing in your business. 

Why prioritise mental wellbeing?

If you’re stressed, you’re often not doing your best work. For 41% of workers, stress leads to a lack of productivity, recent research shows.  

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A further 81% of workers say stress negatively affects their work, manifesting in a range of symptoms including: 

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Physical ailments 
  • Missed work

In the US alone, stress in the workplace causes businesses to lose up to $300 billion yearly.  

It’s clear that stress is costing businesses in more ways than one. But how can you manage stress levels in such uncertain times? 

Stress management is a skill we often learn on the job, and everyone manages stress in their own way.  

Rather than trying to avoid stress altogether, learn how to make stressful situations work for you. 

Being able to manage stress early on and keeping a rational outlook in times of adversity are skills that will benefit you and your business for years to come. 

Boost productivity and drive ROI 

Prioritising mental wellbeing puts you in the right headspace to compartmentalise effectively, maintain focus and maintain a creative outlook.

From a business perspective, promoting your own good mental health and prioritising it in the workplace reduces absenteeism and boosts productivity and engagement. It also directly benefits your bottom line. 

On average, every $1 spent creating a mentally healthy workplace results in a positive ROI of $2.30, research shows. That’s because staff who feel valued and supported are willing to give more discretionary effort, and are connected to the goals of your business. 

As a small business owner, hiring can be one of the most expensive things you do. Creating a positive culture of mental wellbeing can attract and retain the best talent, helping you avoid the high cost of turnover (which can be as much as $18,982).

Make mental health as important as physical health  

Mental and physical health are intrinsically linked. Taking the time to prioritise mental wellbeing can in turn improve your physical health in myriad ways.

  • With lowered stress and anxiety levels, you may feel more energised, relaxed and alert. 
  • Brain fog dissipates, you’re getting a better sleep, and it’s easier to focus and be present in the moment. 
  • In the absence of constant stress, your immune system may also improve and become stronger. 
  • Feelings of tiredness and exhaustion are reduced and stamina is increased — some studies suggest by up to 15%

Small business owners are the anchor of their business: employees look to them for guidance and inspiration, and they in turn drive their business to success.

By prioritising your own mental health, you set the standard for your team and uphold a commitment to make your business a great place to work. 

That, in turn, can help your business weather any challenges the future may hold.

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