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SMEs seek solutions for work stress



 Over three quarters of small and medium sized business owners (78pct) think that their mental health problems affect their ability to work effectively, according to the latest Aldermore Future Attitudes study.

Three fifths think that their involvement in their business is a contributing factor, and two in five (40pct) bosses believe loss of vital business revenues impacts most on mental health

The Aldermore Future Attitudes study has revealed that a third (33pct) of bosses at UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), equating to 1.81 million firms with fewer than 250 employees, have personally suffered from anxiety, depression or another kind of mental health problem in the past five years.

The most common catalyst for mental health issues amongst SME bosses was a loss of business revenue or decreasing profits (40pct). This was closely followed by key debtors not paying on time (30pct) and insufficient working capital (29pct).

It is not only the most senior executives that are affected. Poor mental health can be a company-wide phenomenon. Aldermore reports that on average, UK SMEs are losing 28 working days a year - more than five weeks - due to poor mental health.

Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore, said, “Due to their size and the relatively limited resources at their disposal, it is no surprise that mental health issues have a proportionally larger impact on smaller companies than larger organisations. Our research reveals that three quarters of SME bosses in the UK believe that there is a negative stigma surrounding mental health problems in the workplace. More must be done to overcome this and encourage those suffering from poor mental health to step forward and seek support. That being said, it is encouraging that [half of business owners] offer a formal staff well-being strategy that proactively encourages a healthy work/life balance, including employees taking regular breaks.”

 Jo Maddocks, Chief Psychologist at JCA Global, a business psychology firm, commented, “There is clearly something missing as the world of work becomes ever more complex, demanding and stressful. More organisations than ever are seeking support for their employees [while] a longer-term solution would also be for leaders to create work environments that promote a positive working climate.

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