Business owners lose sleep over impact of mental health on their business, but don’t act

An illustration of the insides of people's head to depict poor mental health A new poll claims that the majority of business leaders say that mental health support isn’t available for their employees or isn’t utilised enough, despite acknowledging how poor mental health impacts business performance. The survey was conducted by GoProposal and is based on 750 small business owners in the UK. It claims that over half of businesses (55 percent) either have no mental health support in place for their employees or have support processes that aren’t used enough.

Business owners said the biggest barriers to employees talking about their mental health and stress included the fear of career implications (40 percent), a heavy workload (38 percent), the feeling that there is no one to talk to (32 percent), and even just long working hours (29 percent), highlighting a long list of obstacles preventing employees seeking support, despite being in need.

Almost half (46 percent) said they believed the biggest stressor impacting mental wellness in employees was the pressure of making mistakes that cost the business money, followed by over a quarter of people (28 percent), saying difficult conversations with clients causes the most stress.

Business owners believe that as a result of increased stress among employees, the biggest impacts are more mistakes and errors in the workplace (44 percent), lower morale and motivation (44 percent), and lower productivity and efficiency (41 percent). It is perhaps for these reasons that among those businesses who do have mental health support in place that is utilised effectively, 92 percent said they have seen improvements in performance and productivity among employees.

When it came to the workload, burnout and mental health of business owners themselves, the survey showed how 54 percent have worked long and late hours to keep their business on track and running well, 51 percent have lost sleep due to the stress, 48 percent had taken on multiple roles despite not being qualified to do so, and 47 percent have felt a blurring of home and work life.

The report claims that this can inevitably lead to strong feelings of low confidence or motivation, which a third of bosses said they felt, as well as 28 percent who said they felt unsupported or lonely.  Regionally, we found London businesses had the most mental health support in place to combat these issues, with 52 percent of bosses in the capital saying they have processes in place. This is followed by the West Midlands (47 percent) and North East England (46 percent). Businesses in the East Midlands however are the most under-equipped with mental health support, with just 27 percent saying they have support in place.