The effects of the covid-19 pandemic have taken a huge toll on the mental health of many small business owners and their employees. The ongoing possibility of having to suddenly close whenever a new outbreak of covid-19 occurs means that many businesses are struggling to make a profit and are facing an uncertain future.
As a way of helping support small business owners, the federal government has introduced the “Ahead for Business” project. An initiative that supports individuals working in small business to take action on their wellbeing and mental health through a new digital hub which provides tailored resources, check-ups, peer support and personalised action plans.
“Ahead for Business” has been created by “Everymind” one of Australia’s leading mental health institutes. The project has also received funding from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
Ahead for Business has also been created in conjunction with small business owners and employees utilising their voice to showcase their experiences through videos, blogs, podcasts and case studies. The projects online hub also aims to empower small business owners to prioritise their mental health and connect with others through an online setting to express any concerns they have and to assist other small business owners who need support with their mental health throughout the pandemic.
Some of the videos included in the resources of the digital hub are related to topics such as; creating a mentally healthy small business, connecting at work, addressing the stigma around mental health and building resilience to prepare for adverse events.
To take care of your mental health it is important for small business owners to make sure they maintain a healthy work-life balance, make time for family and friends and activities you enjoy. Exercise regularly to help boost your energy levels and improve stamina, plan events ahead of time to ensure you know what’s coming up, allow yourself to say ‘no’ so you don’t over commit yourself, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily and getting enough sleep. It is also super important to find ways to relax and unwind, such as meditation, listening to music or incorporating breathing techniques into your daily routine.
In the age of covid-19, many Australians have found themselves working from home. Although there are some key benefits to working from home in terms of the flexibility it provides and the money saved that is usually spent on public transport or fuel. Despite this, there are also some negative side-effects which mean it is important for employees to take care of their mental health whilst they are stuck in their home.
Unfortunately, not all employees have close contact with their family members and work may serve as a huge part of their social life. Many employees who are stuck working from home often say that they miss having conversations in the hallway with their colleagues.
Many people working from a home which they share with other family members often suffer from “time elasticity illusion”. This phenomenon happens when other people assume the worker can spend time on household tasks without it having an impact on the amount of time the employee spends on their paid work. This involuntary overlap of household and work commitments often leads to fatigue.
It is therefore crucial for individuals who are working from home to set-up a dedicated, distraction-free work space where they can foster deeper cognitive processing and stay focussed for longer periods of time. Having a separate room to work from can help separate work hours from non-work hours. This is extremely beneficial as many people have found that there is a blurring of professional and personal space within their home. This has resulted in some employees struggling to switch off from work. This consequently in some cases has negatively impacted their quality of sleep.
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