Telephone iconCall UsTelephone icon0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Chevron left icon
Knowledge centre

New survey reveals mental health crisis looming among SME owners after Covid-19

3-minute read

New survey reveals mental health crisis looming among SME owners after Covid-19
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

27 January 2021

Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of 82 per cent of small business owners, according to new research from Simply Business.

We spoke to 765 small business owners across the UK to understand how Covid-19 has affected their mental health and wellbeing.

And with a staggering 82 per cent saying they’ve suffered from poor mental health in the last 12 months, the impact of the pandemic is clear to see.

We found that while financial worries are causing the biggest impact, other concerns include not being able to see family and feeling unable to take a break from work.

Download our report into the wellbeing of small business owners for more data

Get your free report for more research into how small business owners have been affected by coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns.

Your email address will be used by Simply Business to keep you posted with the latest news, offers and tips. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. Simply Business Privacy policy.

Survey reveals hard-hitting stats on small business owner stress

Almost half of small business owners are worried about their mental health

Many businesses have had to close or operate at reduced capacity throughout the pandemic – just 21 per cent have continued to operate as usual. And 33 per cent have had to temporarily close their business at various points and 44 per cent have continued operating but at reduced capacity.

The pandemic has also taken an emotional toll. A fifth (19 per cent) of small business owners would describe their current mental wellbeing as bad and almost half (47 per cent) are worried about their mental health going into 2021.

We found that the vast majority, if not all, say any symptoms of poor mental health have either been caused by or made worse because of Covid-19.

Symptom% said they experienced this in past 12 months
Depression30%
Stress62%
Anxiety55%
Sleep problems51%
Low self esteem27%
Loneliness19%

What's been the emotional impact of running a business during the pandemic?

The day-to-day running of a business during Covid-19 is affecting small businesses owners in many different ways:

  • 35 per cent struggle to switch off
  • 28 per cent feel demotivated to work or restart their business
  • 21 per cent say their confidence has been affected
  • 22 per cent say it's impacted relationships with family or friends
  • 18 per cent have fallen out of love with their business or industry

Financial worries are greatest risk to wellbeing

In terms of what’s causing a negative impact on mental wellbeing, financial worries are the greatest concern among SME owners – 61 per cent said they’ve worried about money in the past 12 months.

Other factors that have contributed to poor mental wellbeing include being unable to see family and friends (60 per cent), uncertainty surrounding their business (44 per cent), and stress (48 per cent).

Feeling unable to take a break or holiday has also impacted the wellbeing of 37 per cent of small business owners in the past year.

Meanwhile one third (28 per cent) say isolation or loneliness has had a negative impact on their wellbeing, and almost a quarter (23 per cent) mention lack of physical exercise as a contributing factor.

We also asked businesses what they were most concerned about as they look ahead to 2021:

  • over two thirds (67 per cent) are worried about future lockdowns
  • half (49 per cent) are worried about the future of their business
  • 47 per cent are worried about their own mental wellbeing
  • nearly a quarter (22 per cent) are concerned about needing to permanently close their business

There’s still a level of optimism

While the coronavirus pandemic remains a challenge to small business owners, there’s still a level of optimism as we look ahead in 2021.

It’s positive that 39 per cent of small business owners are optimistic about the economy picking up this year, and a fifth (21 per cent) are optimistic about learning new skills.

They’re also confident about the future of their business (36 per cent), jobs or orders picking up (25 per cent) and being able to adapt their business (31 per cent).

Tips for looking after mental wellbeing

As well as uncovering the emotional impact of the pandemic, our study also looked into how small business owners are looking after their wellbeing:

Activity% say this helps their wellbeing
Spending time outside/in nature67%
Exercising64%
Connecting with friends or family64%
Reading27%
Gardening27%
Mindfulness and meditation25%
Arts and crafts51%

Simply Business has a dedicated Better for Business wellbeing support page, with plenty of practical resources to help small businesses and the self-employed manage their mental health from trained specialists – including tips on sleeping better.

Sign up for our newsletter

Looking for the latest news and features to help you stay ahead? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get the inside track on the issues that matter to you.

Sign up now

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Facebook icon
Share
Twitter icon
Tweet
LinkedIn icon
Post

People also liked

Landlords could be targeted in new Capital Gains Tax raid.

19 November 20202-minute read

Landlords could be targeted in new Capital Gains Tax raid

Landlords could be hit by another massive tax raid, as the Office of Tax Simplification outlines its recommendations for an overhaul of…

Read more

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Categories

Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub

Address

6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2021 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.