Pandemic Forcing Small Business Owners into Greater Stress

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“The pandemic forced small business owners to carry a lot of additional stress on their shoulders. Even though we hope to be on the other side of the pandemic, the majority are still feeling stressed and uncertain about the future. At the same time, we are hearing from our members that mental health concerns have also increased for employees and that broaching this topic is not always easy,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “That’s why CFIB developed an online hub where business owners can get information and tools to help them add or enhance wellness in their workplace.”

Trying to deal with the stresses along with inflation and continued economic uncertainty is making the market harder for both consumers and small to medium sized businesses.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is launching Workplace Wellness, a new online initiative that provides business owners with resources and tools to support wellness in their business. The online hub, developed in partnership with Nexim Canada (PrimaSure), includes free articles, webinars, printable posters and templates, including templates to create a disconnecting from work policy and respectful workplace guidelines.

“We encourage business owners to reflect on how they can encourage their employees to lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Briana Desormeau, Vice-President, Nexim Canada. “Different ways to build a healthy organizational culture includes putting accommodations in place and ensuring employees know about the supports available to them. This could also include building in opportunities for open discussion among staff or introducing an Employee Assistance Program.”

According to CFIB’s recent survey, nearly four in five (78%) small business owners are still dealing with pandemic stress. The pandemic’s lingering impact is more significant for businesses in the hospitality (91%), social services (91%), enterprise and administrative management (90%), and information, arts and recreation (88%) sectors.

At a time when small business owners’ biggest growth constraint is finding and keeping staff, focusing on wellness can help with retention for employees who may be on the verge of burnout or quitting. CFIB’s research shows three in ten (31%) small business owners have increased the availability of mental health resources and/or information for their employees since the start of the pandemic.

“We hope this new initiative will make it easier for owners to incorporate wellness practices into their workplace, as it could help reduce the likelihood of employees going on short- and long-term disability. In small businesses, in particular, the absence of even one employee has a big impact on business operations, but it can also be personal for many small business owners whose staff often consists of friends or even family members,” Pohlmann said.


Business owners can access CFIB’s Workplace Wellness here.