A quarter of small to medium employers are too busy to support mental health

Mental health

More than a quarter (28%) of small to medium employers state that they are too busy to think about supporting mental health in the workplace, with 48% believing they could be doing more in this area, according to research by small business platform Xero.

Its survey of 500 small and medium business owners also found that 37% of respondents allow pets in the office in order to support employee wellbeing, while 35% provide support in terms of workload management and 33% give access to digital wellbeing tools and apps.

Some small and medium employers are focusing on the office environment to impact employee wellbeing and mental health. For example, 34% are adding plants to their work space and 29% are working to ensure there is enough natural light in the office.

Anne Allen, director of people experience at Xero, said: “Running a small business effectively in testing times is about doing the small things well; streamlining administration and tax compliance and using technology to simplify business management. Our study shows [small and medium businesses] do feel the pressure of changing times, but work environments with the right technical, emotional and personal support can ease the strain.”

Around a quarter (24%) of respondents think there is excellent health support at their workplace, but 48% feel that mental health support could be more readily available or better communicated.

Penny Power OBE, business wellbeing expert and director at Social Power, added: “I learned first hand that mental health is as critical as physical health. The process I went through of self-awareness was fundamental to my personal wellbeing and success.

“Business people focus on their skills and building a network, but very few understand their own vulnerabilities. We all have to deal with challenges and modern living that can be overwhelming, but learning to self-care and learning how to manage our minds can be the difference between living a happy and successful life, or not.”