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Figures highlight COVID-19 bite on small business

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
20 May 2020 2 minute readShare
mental health

Small-business owners are struggling with coronavirus-induced stress and anxiety, new research has revealed, with two-thirds reporting COVID-19 has impacted their mental wellbeing.

Some 800 business owners have told MYOB they are struggling with their mental wellbeing, with 58 per cent of the 1,200 surveyed business owners and operators admitting the pandemic has negatively impacted their business.

As rewarding as it can be, running a small business brings with it a range of stressors and challenges, especially during the unprecedented downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Managing cash flow and financial issues, long hours, work/life balance, feeling isolated, wearing multiple hats and a general feeling of responsibility for the businesses success or failure bring with it stress and anxiety.

MYOB’s 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).

“This new research shows that 67 per cent of respondents have experienced feelings of stress or anxiety trying to work around the new restrictions put in place in relation to COVID-19,” said MYOB chief employee experience officer Helen Lea.

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

In addition, the research found that the challenges of working from home are proving difficult for many small businesses.

While working from home, the biggest challenges include trying to separate home life and work life (33 per cent), 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).

MYOB’s survey coincides with the software provider’s launch of a new partnership with Australian not-for-profit in the preventative mental health space, Smiling Mind. This new partnership will see four dedicated modules launched in the Smiling Mind app to help small-business owners manage the unique range of stressors and challenges they face on a regular basis.

“We have been talking to small businesses about their mental health and wellbeing for the last couple of years and working with Smiling Mind on this partnership for the last six months. We could not have known how important these conversations would become as small businesses face a pandemic and business operating restrictions,” Ms Lea said.

Commenting on the new partnership, Smiling Mind’s co-founder and chair, Jane Martino, said that while Australian businesses are under immense pressure right now, the confronting reality is that these COVID-19-related burdens are likely to remain for months, and potentially years, to come.

“This partnership with MYOB has enabled us to deliver free, easily implementable tools to help those feeling the strain,” Ms Martino said.

“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.”

Figures highlight COVID-19 bite on small business
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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