New program aims to relieve small-business owners’ stress

A new partnership will see four dedicated app modules launched focusing on mindfulness foundations, stress management, relationships and resilience. The four modules are designed to help small-business owners manage the unique stress and challenges they deal with on a regular basis.

The initiative, a partnership between business platform MYOB and Smiling Mind, a nonprofit dedicated to preventative mental health awareness and care, comes on the back of a report revealing that two-thirds (66 per cent) of small businesses feel that COVID-19 has impacted their mental well-being.

MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, said the launch of the partnership and the content with it comes at the right time when small-business owners really need it.

“We have been talking to small businesses about their mental health and well-being for the last couple of years and working with Smiling Mind on this partnership for the last six months,” Lea said.

“We could not have known how important these conversations would become as small businesses face a pandemic and business operating restrictions.”

The report noted that 66 per cent of respondents take time for their mental health, but 28 per cent say they know they should but they don’t have time to do so.

“As rewarding as it can be, running a small business brings with it a range of stressors and challenges,” Lea said. “The research found that over the journey of running a small business, respondents have felt increased feelings of stress (64 per cent) and anxiety (62 per cent). Partnering with Smiling Mind to enable them to create dedicated content for the 2.4 million small businesses in Australia is one way we can help this community.”

Commenting on the four modules chosen for the project, Smiling Mind’s Co-Founder and Chair, Jane Martino, noted that each represented a critical building block for any small-business owner focusing on their mental health and is designed to be used proactively to support good mental health.

“Australian businesses are under immense pressure right now, and the confronting reality is that these COVID-19 related burdens are likely to remain for months, and potentially years, to come,” Martino said.

“This partnership with MYOB has enabled us to deliver free, easily implementable tools to help those feeling the strain. We know that when you allow your mind to enter a state of calm, you have the mental clarity to help your business thrive – we want to deliver a sense of control to business owners at a time where control has been so elusive.”

According to the study, the top five factors that have impacted respondents’ well-being in the last 12 months are COVID-19 (55 per cent), finances (51 per cent), work-related stress (45 per cent), lack of sleep (41 per cent) and relationships (22 per cent).

The research also indicated that the challenges of working from home are proving difficult for small businesses. 33 per cent found that trying to separate home and work lives is the biggest challenges, followed closely by not having face-to-face interactions with clients and customers (32 per cent), not being able to socialise with colleagues (29 per cent), sitting at a desk all day (25 per cent), and snacking and not eating the right food (25 per cent). 

Respondents have found exercise (51 per cent), watching TV or movies (47 per cent), being outside (47 per cent) and connecting with family and friends (47 per cent) helped boost their mental health during this time.

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