The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is using the New Year to remind small business owners that a commitment to wellbeing for themselves and their employees is vital – not just on a personal level, but on a business level too.
The wide-reaching benefits of wellbeing
‘Making wellbeing a priority in your business can lead to increased productivity, improve staff performance and reduce absenteeism. This makes an excellent business case, but the benefits stretch further reaching the wider economy, the NHS, Government and society as a whole,’ the FSB reminds us in a blog post.
‘January is an opportune moment to take time to think about our wellbeing, and that of our employees, and whether there are steps that we can take to promote a happy, healthy working environment.’
According to research by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the annual bill for sickness absence already sits at £29 billion across the UK, with presenteeism (working while sick) costing another £15.1 billion.
Meanwhile, figures from the FSB’s own medical and health advice service show that the number of small businesses seeking mental health advice has doubled in the last five years. Annually, one in six British workers suffer from a condition such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress.
Good health is good business. BHF figures show that the potential economic return on investment (ROI) for a UK business that invests in workplace health initiatives is £4.17 for every £1 spent and promoting good health at work can see a 25 to 40% reduction in absenteeism.
Also, an employer who actively promotes wellbeing in the workplace is eight times more likely to have employees fully engaged in their work. And what business owner doesn’t want engaged staff?
Practical steps to improve wellbeing in your business
As part of their campaign, last year the FSB produced a useful wellbeing guide, Wellbeing In Small Business: How You Can Help, which includes advice on opening up about mental health, healthy work environments and job design, and where to seek help for yourself and your employees.
But if you don’t have time to read their guide at the moment, they’ve also given you a few quick tips to help you start improving wellbeing in your business right now:
- Take a lead in your business and help destigmatise mental health by talking about it
- If you’re self-employed, reach out to a networking group. Remember – going it alone doesn’t mean you are alone
- Investigate flexible working arrangements and whether it could work for your business
- Start an ‘in-work’ fitness group – this could be a running group
- Try a walking and talking meeting
- Bring some plants into your office to improve air quality
- Consider training courses to upskill you and your staff