Better for Business: a report into the wellbeing of small business owners


It’s not surprising that the coronavirus pandemic – and the subsequent shutdown of society – has taken its toll on the emotional and mental health of small business owners.

Even before the pandemic, our research told us that the self-employed struggle to take a break from their work.

But what’s the current scale of the problem? And as the UK’s regions begin to open up again, are there reasons for optimism?

Our latest report compiles our survey results on the wellbeing of small business owners.

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

Keep on reading for a snapshot of the headlines in the report.

An emerging mental health crisis

Our headlines reveal a worrying spike in stress and anxiety, as many self-employed people haven’t been able to continue working as normal.

  • 82 per cent of small business owners feel the pandemic is having a negative impact on their mental health
  • 19 per cent describe their current mental wellbeing as ‘bad’
  • 47 per cent are worried about how their mental health will hold up throughout 2021

What’s more, millions of small business owners are risking burnout, and many are experiencing sleepless nights.

  • 3.7 million experienced stress
  • 3.3 million suffered from anxiety
  • 1.8 million had depression
  • 51 per cent said that poor sleep has affected their mental health in the last 12 months

But while small business owners are still struggling with their wellbeing, many are optimistic about the future.

Reasons to be encouraged

36 per cent of the self-employed people we surveyed said that they’re positive about the future of their business.

  • 35 per cent are positive about jobs and orders picking up again
  • 31 per cent are positive about their business’s ability to adapt to new conditions
  • 21 per cent are looking forward to learning new skills
  • 39 per cent are positive about the economy picking up again

We also found that small business owners are taking steps to improve their wellbeing in 2021, including by reading more, doing more exercise, and dedicating more time to connecting with friends and family.

How has the impact of coronavirus affected your wellbeing? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for self-employed health insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed health insurance policy combining valuable covers and services. Whether you want to be covered for stress support, physiotherapy, or in-patient hospital treatment, we’ve got the right health cover to suit your needs.

Sam Bromley

Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.

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