As a passionate advocate of mental health wellness, I know the issues small business owners are facing are taking a negative toll. Supporting them, and each other, is more important than ever, and looking after the mental well-being of our friends and colleagues is a key part of that.
American Express recently teamed up with Small Business Wellbeing Advocate, Leanne Faulkner, founder of Fortitude at Work, to share advice on how small business owners can identify and manage stress. I hope these tips from Leanne help to ease some of the pressure being felt at the moment especially if you are operating a small business.
1. Make time for self-care.
There has been a lot of focus on employees of late, but it’s important to acknowledge that making tough business decisions places equal strain on employers. We all feel for each other during this difficult time. It’s not easy having conversations with your team about changes in employment (for example) and that’s why it’s important you engage in some easy, in-home self-care strategies to safeguard your resilience. This might include finding some quiet time to reflect, heading out for a walk or talking to a peer for support when making difficult decisions.
2. Remember, you’re not alone.
Unlike the GFC, COVID-19 does not discriminate. Most small businesses in Australia have been impacted by this pandemic. The experiences you are having in your business right now are shared across the country. Remember, there are a lot of people who are here to help when you need it. Check out the Australian Small Business Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s new My Business Health site – https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/my-business-health/home for the latest information and support to manage through this period. Also, consider joining your industry association. Associations are often great sources of information about challenges specific to an industry sector.
3. Stay connected to your employees.
If you’re not seeing your team every day at your workplace and they are not able to work from home, find a way to stay connected. Use a free chat service to connect to staff members once a week for morning tea and a chat.
Send each an individual email or text to check on their wellbeing. Post them something in the mail as a reminder of how valued they are in the workplace.
We will eventually get to return to work but in the meantime, it’s important to keep the team engaged and keen to get back to work.
4. Invest in your future.
Devise a daily plan to ensure you’re in optimum condition to return to work when restrictions ease. We don’t know what future trading will be like so it’s important to start to think about what you need to do to return to work. You may face initial reopening challenges; you might need to establish new relationships with employees, suppliers and customers; and you might need to explore new ways to do business. This means ensuring you’re in the best possible physical and mental condition to get back to work. Use this time to invest in your own health and wellbeing. That investment will be realised when we’re all back at work. Remember, an investment in yourself is an investment in your business.
With support from customers, communities and big business, Australian small businesses will prove just how resilient and inspiring they really are.