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How small firms can manage staff wellbeing investment

It is no surprise that small business employee mental health is as increasingly common talking point – more firms are surviving rather than thriving. There’s plenty of advice on what to do but how can businesses afford it?

A study from Simply Business has offered yet more evidence of how market conditions and the fight to stay afloat is taking its toll on small business owners, who are having to work harder than ever and shoulder incredible stress.

According to the survey, 56% of owners have experienced poor mental health over the last year. Anxiety, depression and loneliness are cited as the leading forms of illness, while one in three owners admitted to burning out. Telling, over 40% of owners said that financial concerns were behind their poor health, with a similar number revealing that they feel that can’t take time off to recover.

These findings are mirrored by research from SpareMyTime, which ranked the UK only 13th in its European work-life balance study. Long hours and low pay were the main factors behind the position, with the study also revealed an increase in employee burnout in the UK over the last 12 months.

Staff wellbeing benefits and how alternative finance can help

The reasons for the deterioration of small business owner and employee mental health are clear and there are no shortage of solutions on offer. Beyond taking more time off, wellbeing strategies can include the likes of bonuses and rewards, flexible working hours, cost of living payments, nursery discounts, gym memberships, more holiday allowance, medical insurance, charity work, yoga classes and subsidised travel.

The caveat, of course, is all these benefits cost money. How can small business owners balance rolling out or expanding staff wellbeing policies with safeguarding cashflow and capital reserves?

Alternative finance can help.

Services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses in the current funding climate (with bank loans to SMEs falling by £14 billion in the year to March 2023 and 65% more SMEs experiencing difficulty in accessing finance from high-street banks as of August 2023).

These alternative finance facilities, which offer a more easily accessible, affordable and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery, stability and growth.

Notably, alternative lending played a prominent role in the government’s headline emergency support schemes.

This profile has helped cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector, with a new study showing that more than 50% of small businesses are looking to use finance to achieve growth in 2023.

Investing in staff wellbeing and small firm finance options

Finding the cash for staff wellbeing policies is challenging but safeguarding the mental and physical health of employees, including owners and management, is vital. An active and engaged workforce and leadership is essential. This is why it is important small firms 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 Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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