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29 September 2017

Why FSB has been minding the wellbeing gap for small businesses (wellbeing in small business blog)

Blog by Dave Stallon at FSBDave Stallon
Over the past fortnight we’ve been running a Wellbeing in Small Business campaign and it’s attracted the support of some of the most respected organisations in the health and wellbeing sphere. The campaign, which continues until this weekend, is encouraging the conversation about workplace wellbeing among the UK’s 5.5 million-strong small business and self-employed community and their employees.

Running a small business is a hugely rewarding life choice, but it also presents challenges for personal wellbeing. As small business owners and the self-employed, we tend to try to struggle on through illness, which can often exacerbate a condition, causing long-term problems. It’s common to also suffer with the stress and responsibility of running the business which cannot operate without us.

Mental health related cases presented by small business owners and the self-employed to FSB Care, the medical and health advice service available to FSB’s members, have doubled over the last five years. More broadly, there has been an increase in the number of mental health conditions across the UK’s workforce and research shows that the annual bill for sickness absence currently sits at £29 billion.

Better mental health support could save UK businesses up to £8 billion a year and it’s estimated that one in four people experience mental health problems in any year. Being aware of some of the simple steps that can be taken to increase wellbeing can help.

We’re all well aware of some of the main policy challenges the small business community has faced over this last year – from the revaluation of business rates and a rise in cyber crime to national insurance hikes. FSB has successfully campaigned on these issues. Yet, at the same time as working to influence public policy, FSB also aims to offer the best support, advice and benefits to help the UK small businesses and the self-employed achieve their ambitions.

We found that a very many of FSB’s members make a conscious effort to look after the their wellbeing, and that of their employees, in various ways; from offering flexible working arrangements, knowledge sharing clubs, allowing pets at work, to networking and taking regular aerobic exercise. Throughout the campaign we’ve been able to learn more about ways to increase wellbeing from our members, as well as from experts in the field.

On our own wellbeing journey we’ve tried ‘forest bathing’ (simply immersing yourself in nature for a short time) and having walking meetings, we’ve introduced plants into our workspaces, we now have a collective fruit bowl (contributed to by staff) and stepped up our after-work running groups in both our Blackpool and London HQs. We’re also making a conscious effort to talk more openly about mental health.

Please do visit our FSB Wellbeing in Small Business hub and see if you find the ideas and information there helpful and/or inspiring.

Join the conversation and share your own tips at #FSBwellbeing

Dave Stallon is the commercial and operations director of FSB and a small business owner.

FSB Care from FSB

FSB members with a serious health condition have free access to a personal nurse adviser - providing practical information and emotional support.

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