Wellbeing in Small Business Hub
Welcome to the FSB’s Wellbeing in Small Business hub. Here you will find information and practical advice for your business on mental health and general wellbeing. Included are ideas and suggestions that you can try if you are looking to improve your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of your staff.
You will also find case studies from the FSB membership and partner organisations like Public Health England and mental health charity Mind.
Taking care of wellbeing can have positive effects on both health and productivity. We want to encourage the conversation about wellbeing amongst the UK’s 5.8 million small businesses. FSB welcomes you to the wellbeing conversation. We hope you will share your stories with #FSBwellbeing.
Wellbeing in Small Business: how you can help
Taking care of wellbeing can have positive effects on both health and productivity.
We know from our members that ensuring their own health and wellbeing, as well as that of their teams, is crucial to the success of their business. Below are some of the highlights of our 'Wellbeing in Small Business: How you can Help' report.
People who are self-employed and run their own businesses are used to being self-reliant. But being self-reliant doesn’t have to mean going it alone – often the simplest and first step to better wellbeing can be to talk about it, whether it's about how you feel or how somebody you employ feels. Talking about these issues in the workplace can really improve performance and productivity, and even though it costs time, it should help you in the long-run.
Where do I start?
- Try to open up: The adage of "A problem shared is a problem halved" has persisted for a reson. Try to open up about how you’re feeling with others at home, in work or with friends.
- Talk about your mental health: Stigma around mental health remains a big issue in society. Take a lead in your business and talking about mental health with your staff. Open conversations and awareness of the subject breakdown barriers allowing you and those around you to feel more comfortable about the issues affeting them.
- Talk about work: If you employ staff it’s important to talk to your employees about their work and what you can do to make it more manageable. Regular one-to-ones, or lunchtime catch ups can be a great way to build trust and a relationship between you and your staff.
- Don't go it alone: Working on your own doesn't mean being lonely. Attending networking events (online or in person) helps build relationships with others like you which contributes to building a support network around yourself.
Top tips to reduce stress in your business - by FSB member Naomi Murray, Botanica Health
Balancing a small business, family and your mental health.
Many small business owners neglect their own physical and mental wellbeing.
Our jobs have a big impact on our health and wellbeing. The Labour Force Survey in 2007/08 found that an estimated 442,000 individuals in Britain believed that they were experiencing workrelated stress at a level that was making them ill3. Well-designed jobs with good line management, communication and flexibility can all help reduce stress. It’s worth thinking about changes you can
Where do I start?
- Train up: How you manage staff can play a big role in making staff feel valued and well supported, or the opposite if done poorly. Many organisations offer a variety of different wellbeing training for business owners, line managers and employees. Training focuses on mental health awareness and promoting wellbeing in the workplace.
- Be Flexible: If you can provide opportunities to staff to operate more flexibly, it can deliver great returns for you as a business and help attract new talent. There are many different forms of flexible working, including homeworking, part-time working, flexitime or job sharing which all help employees manage their work life balance.
- Keep on top of pressure: It is really important to keep in touch with your employees and to make sure work can be planned effectively. Make sure you work with your staff to understand the pressures you are all under, what their workload is and what could be changed to reduce pressure points.
- Encourage your staff to get involved: Volunteering can help boost quality of life and wellbeing, it can also help develop key skills critical for leadership and management roles, such as coaching, mentoring, communication, creativity, team building and time management. This could be through an opportunity to volunteer for local charities or with the local school or college.
The buildings we work in can make a huge difference – both positive and negative – to how we feel day-to-day.
85 per cent of people in England agree that the quality of the built environment influences the way they feel. Improving the environment you work in can be one of the easiest things to do – but it could also make the biggest difference.
Where do I start?
The buildings we work in can make a huge difference – both positive and negative – to how we feel day-to-day. 85 per cent of people in England agree that the quality of the built environment influences the way they feel. Improving the environment you work in can be one of the easiest things to do but it could also make the biggest difference.
- Go Green: Poor workplace air quality can lead to health problems such as headaches, fatigue, and a lack of concentration. You don’t need to spend money on an expensive air conditioning systems, open some windows and add some plants to your workspace for an instant lift.
- Let there be light: Improving our exposure to natural light can have a positive impact, increasing our productivity by 18 per cent, and our work rate by 23 per cent. Try to site workspaces near windows or, if you manage staff rotate roles and seating plans to allow employees to share window desks.No windows? Increase your exposure to light by taking a walking meeting or taking a break in a location filled with natural light.
- Walk and talk: Sitting for long periods can lead to stiffness, back pain, muscular issues and can increase blood sugar levels. Think about ways to move more during your working day. Walking meetings, desk yoga and even walking up and down the stairs while the kettle boils all helps.
The healthier you are, the easier you might find it to keep working when you need to. Taking care of your body can support both your physical and mental health.
Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent.
Where do I start?
- Eat well, sleep well: We all know that five a day and seven to nine hours of sleep are good for us but implementing this can be hard. Consider keeping fresh fruit on hand for snacks by swapping the biscuit barrel for a fruit bowl and establishing an evening routine to help set sleeping patterns.
- Make it fun: Fitness is always more fun when other people join you. Think about starting a work running or walking group or a morning yoga class. If you employ staff, it can act as a team building exercise helping to bring people together outside of the office.
- Two wheels are better than four: Cycle to work schemes are a simple way to motivate your employees (and yourself) to undertake a healthy, active commute. To find out more, visit the Government website. If you are a small employer, you may also want to think about facilities you could provide at your place of work for those who would like to run or cycle to work.
- Get appy: The number of apps and features modern smartphones carry allows them to become a personal trainer in our pocket. From first steps to first marathons there is an app to suit, visit the NHS choices website for interactive tools, apps and podcasts to inspire you and those you work with.
Keeping yourself and your staff healthy is incredibly important – it’s equally important to access the help you or your staff need if one of you develops a disability or health condition while in work.
If somebody falls out of work, not only can it lead to the loss of a valued member of staff for a business, but it can lead to worse health outcomes for them and contribute to negative economy-wide outcomes.
Where do I start?
- Phased returns: If a member of your staff has had a period of illness, returning to work can be a challenging prospect. Offering a phased return where the employee works part time or full time between home and the office are an option and even something as simple as an earlier or later start time can make a big difference.
- Use the resources available to you: There are a huge number of resources available to help support yourself and your staff. You can find some listed in our guide as well as the reaching out section below.
- Think about musculoskeletal conditions: One in four of the adult population are affected by musculoskeletal conditions. These can affect the joints, bones and muscles, and also include rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain. If you’re creating a new position, taking on a new member of staff, or thinking about what changes you can make to existing jobs, make sure you consider how you can help ensure that musculoskeletal conditions don’t prevent you from getting the best staff.
A number of organisations offer guidance and support across the UK to help businesses create a healthy workplace culture.
The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) is a charity with over 400 member organisations. They focus on inspiring, challenging and empowering their members to identify and adopt the most sustainable and viable solutions for their businesses. They have resources available which can help you improve the design of your workplace to promote wellbeing and the health of your employees. Check out their website and search for their Bitesize Briefings which look at health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.
Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice. It will help you find out where you are doing well and where you could improve your approach to mental health in the workplace. To find out more, visit their site or contact the team on [email protected]
Time to Change is a national campaign led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, as part of the campaign there is a dedicated team who works with employers to end stigma and discrimination of mental health problems in the workplace.
Whether you're an employee worried about your own or a colleague's mental health, or an HR professional interested in improving mental wellbeing in your organisation – Mind is there to help. Please have a look at the Mental Health at Work section of their site, and a full list of resources targeted at employers can be found on the Useful Resources page.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is a professional association for human resource management professionals, and they have produced a number of factsheets which you might find really helpful to read. CIPD’s wellbeing hub contains a number of videos with examples of good practice on wellbeing, as well as a range of other materials.
Also check out these fact sheets from CIPD:
Public Health England is responsible for making the public healthier and reducing differences between the health of different groups by promoting healthier lifestyles, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and the public.
They have developed a number of toolkits, in association with Business in the Community, including:
- Musculoskeletal health in the workplace
- Reducing the risk of suicide: a preventative toolkit for employers
- Crisis management in the event of a suicide: a postvention toolkit for employers.
Healthy Working Lives is part of NHS Scotland and support employers create a safer, healthier and more motivated workforce. They work with all kinds of businesses, completely free of charge, offering practical information and advice to help improve health and safety and the wellbeing of everyone at work. Their website is full of practical advice, guides and tools to help with every aspect of health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
The Scottish Association for Mental Health currently has over 60 community services across the whole of Scotland providing mental health and social care support. This focuses on homelessness, addictions and employment services, among others. They provide a number of resources for businesses looking to improve wellbeing in the workplace. They also focus on individual wellbeing and have a wellbeing tool where you can measure your own wellbeing.
In Northern Ireland
Inspire in Northern Ireland offers a range of services that provide support in the areas of mental health and learning disability across a range of areas. This includes individual sections dedicated to mental health, disability services and workplace wellbeing. They can help your business develop an employee support service, mental health and wellbeing programmes.
Download the full Guide
Read the full guide to find more resources and ideas on how you can start to make wellbeing part of your workplace culture.Read Now
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