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How smaller firms can afford to invest in staff wellbeing

In the wake of Mental Health Awareness Week, the spotlight is back on staff wellbeing and the measures being taken by employers to look after their employees. A range of tools and packages are available, but cost is a barrier. How can smaller firm afford to invest?

What is behind the increasing focus on staff wellbeing?

According to a new study from Simply Business, three in five SME owners reported feeling stressed, with over half suffering from anxiety and almost a third from depression. At the same time, new research from Willis Towers Watson revealed that just 37% of employees in the UK claim to have good emotional wellbeing.

The issue of staff wellbeing has been put front and centre by the pandemic, both in terms of mental and physical health, as employees have been exposed to a wide range of stresses relating to major changes in the workplace.

Against this backdrop, the new figures are hardly surprising, but they are still a concern. From a business point of view, poor staff wellbeing has a direct impact on attendance, productivity and performance. As companies attempt to navigate another challenging year, all hands need to be on deck. Therefore, staff wellbeing is paramount.

And while pandemic-related stress is easing, there is still concern about another lockdown and further restrictions, and the impact that such measures would have. In addition, rising costs and supply shortages are fuelling the flames, as paying higher fuel and energy prices and managing disrupted supply chains applies yet further pressure.

Staff wellbeing strategies and how alternative finance can help

The good news is that businesses are taking more steps to look after staff wellbeing, offering wellbeing packages, making use of wellbeing tools and putting wellbeing practices in place. However, investing in this type of strategy comes at a cost and for smaller firms already surviving on wafer thin margins, finding the capital is a major challenge.

So, how can small businesses manage cashflow as demands relating to staff wellbeing and workplace wellbeing strategies grow? Alternative finance can help.

In the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, which is an issue that has returned during the pandemic and amid challenging market conditions in 2022, services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses, both for maintaining cashflow and for essential investment.

These facilities, which offer a more easily accessible and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery and regrowth. Furthermore, alternative lending is playing a prominent role in the government’s headline emergency support scheme, the Recovery Loan Scheme (open until the end of June 2022). Invoice finance and asset finance between £1,000 and £10 million per business are available under the initiative. This profile is helping cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector.

Workplace wellbeing and small business finance options

Given the events of the last few years and the way in which 2022 is unfolding, it is unsurprising that a new importance has been attached to staff wellbeing and workplace wellbeing strategies. For smaller firms to afford this, it is essential that owners and directors are aware of all the finance options available to them, including the services of alternative lenders.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Tony Hedger on 01903 602211 or tony.hedger@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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