Mentally healthy small businesses
Owning a small business can bring opportunity and reward, but also long hours and stress from many sources, from financing the business and building new markets and customer relationships, to working to meet regulatory requirements, finding and managing staff, keeping track of cashflow. Then there are the other stresses, of missing out on time with family and friends. All of that pressure and mental strain can mount up, which is why on 10 October, World Mental Health Day, the Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC) launched a Small Business Mental Health Strategic Plan.
The simple two page template has been designed for both sole traders and business operators employing staff, or heading examples if you would prefer to write your own plan. The process is not long, but points to important questions around supporting the mental health of everyone in the business.
Creating a mentally healthy workplace is just as important as marketing or finance, and being proactive about mental health in small business is a great investment for everyone.
If small business owners have contingency plans in place, and later become unwell or need extended time away from their business, these strategies will help ensure the continuing success of their operations.
The Plan covers likely business stressors, how to identity mental health ‘red flags’, action steps to reduce stress, people and resources to call on, a plan if a small business owner is unable to return to work, and a return to work plan.
The development of the Plan follows the launch earlier this year of the VSBC’s Creating a Mentally Healthy Small Business initiative to help small business operators preserve their mental health while riding the ups and downs that come with establishing and growing a business.
The VSBC advises that once you have completed the template, print it off, laminate it and keep it somewhere safe for easy reference. Send a snapshot of it to your phone so you have it as a resource wherever you go. You could also include it in your Business Plan and discuss it with your business mentor or advisor.