UK small businesses affected by staff welfare issues

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More than half of small businesses reported poor work-life balance as the cause of wellness issues. Photo: Getty Images

Growing pressure and heavier workloads are causing stress and well-being issues for employees in small businesses across the UK, with London having a particularly acute problem.

Almost half (49%) of small businesses reported problems with the health and well-being of their staff in the past year, according to a survey of SMEs by Lloyds Bank (LLOY.L) Business.

The pressure of responsibility was cited as the main cause of discomfort (58%), with a similar proportion feeling overworked (57%). More than half (55%) indicated that a poor work-life balance was the cause.

“The well-being and health of employees should always be a priority, but never more than today, when we face the impact of the pandemic,” said Gareth Oakley, general manager of corporate banking. at Lloyds Bank.

“The coming months can be a testing time for some UK companies, so it is essential that employers continue to focus on both their own well-being and that of their employees.”

Read more: Mental health breaks: why more companies should follow Nike and Bumble

Almost three-quarters (73%) of large businesses (those employing more than 35 people) reported having had problems in the past 12 months, compared with about half (49%) of small businesses (with only two in nine employees).

A quarter (27%) of independent traders say they have encountered such problems due to their work in the past year.

A fifth of those surveyed (20%) had personally fallen ill from the pressure and stress at work, and 15% feared doing so in the future.

People aged 35 to 44 were the most likely to be sick (30%), while those over 55 were the least likely (only 15%).

Firms in London were particularly exposed to such difficulties (60%) with the health and well-being of staff, while those in the north of England were least affected (44%).

A recent report from LifeWorks, a provider of digital total wellness solutions, found that nearly a quarter (24%) of Britons said work hampered their mental well-being during the pandemic, an increase by compared to 22% before the pandemic.

A figure of 35% of people under 40 reported feeling in crisis or having concerns about their mental health and their ability to cope. Managers are over 60% more likely than non-managers to report the same concerns.

All over the world, companies are trying to improve the well-being of their people in various ways.

The Bumble Dating App (BMBL) gave staff a week of paid leave to recover from pandemic ‘collective burnout’ as staff struggled to shut themselves off when working from home .

Nike (NKE) also gave him a week off for his US headquarters employees to relax and “de-stress” after the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic

Watch: How to Negotiate a Salary Increase


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