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Room to grow for SME wellbeing

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It’s no secret small businesses in the Bay of Plenty and across Aotearoa have been doing it tough these last few years.

The string of Covid-19 lockdowns, followed closely by high inflation, talent shortages, and uncertainty about the future, have all made a challenging work environment for our small business communities.

However, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the resilience of our small business communities.

But how does their wellbeing fare against the general population?

To better understand the relationship between small business ownership and wellbeing, a new report draws comparisons on small business wellbeing across several countries including Australia,

Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Overall, Kiwi small businesses appear to be coping well compared to other small business communities around the world.

Our small business owners ranked third in overall wellbeing, and first in overall life satisfaction, with almost half of small business owners feeling calm and relaxed most or all of the time.

This is all testament to the strong appreciation Kiwis now have for work-life balance, with more business owners beginning to focus on fostering a positive workplace culture.

While it’s encouraging to see these solid indicators of wellbeing for Kiwi small businesses, their wellbeing still trends below that of the general population.

It’s common for small business owners to take a hands-on approach to business, deeply involving themselves in any day-to-day operations and challenges which pop up. As a result, this often puts their personal wellbeing in a vulnerable position.

There’s a general understanding around why small business owners often struggle with wellbeing – the real thing we need to focus on is what can they do about it?

For small business owners concerned for their wellbeing or that of their employees, we have four recommendations to help mitigate this stress.

There’s no doubt small business productivity and wellbeing go hand-in-hand. Conscious investment in wellbeing initiatives can help support you, your employees, and your bottom line.

Training and guides which help address the root causes of employee’s mental health issues are also an effective way to introduce wellbeing into the workplace.

This could be an expert coming into the office to discuss wellbeing, or even sharing helpful tips and resources with your team.

Then for anyone looking for a more interpersonal approach, there are a range of counselling and peer support networks available in Aotearoa to help small businesses navigate their wellbeing challenges.

Support offered through the Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) gives small business owners on Xero starter, standard, platinum or ultimate plans free access to confidential mental health counselling and resources.

Lastly, try to explore different ways to achieve restedness in your workplace, with the goal to help you and your team set business matters aside.

This could be anything from taking a walk around the block in between meetings, to giving a team member an extended lunch break if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Wellbeing support comes in all shapes and sizes, and it doesn’t have to be a huge cost for your business.

Small business owners have made incredible progress in the wellbeing space over the last few years, and we hope to see them continue to strive in this space.

Related: What trends can local small businesses expect in 2023?

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Bridget Snelling
Bridget Snelling
Xero New Zealand Country Manager

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