Half of small businesses had staff wellbeing issues in the past year

27 November 2021

  • Problems with wellbeing more prevalent amongst bigger UK firms.
  • Companies in London most likely to have had issues with employee health.
  • Pressure and workload reported by staff as key reasons for stress.

Increasing pressure and bigger workloads has led to half (49%) of small businesses to report issues with their employees’ health and wellbeing over the past year, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Business.

The research, which polled business owners and decision makers right across the UK, found that the problem is much more prevalent at larger companies, with almost three-quarters (73%) of bigger firms (those employing more than 35 staff) confirming they’ve had issues over the last 12 months, compared to around half (49%) of smaller companies (with 2-9 staff). Only around a quarter (27%) of sole traders say they have experienced such issues as a result of their work in the last year. 

Recent statistics published by the UK Government reveal that the number of adults experiencing some form of depression has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic, while almost half of adults have reported that their wellbeing has been affected. In addition, as restrictions have eased and social mixing becomes the norm again, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of viruses and infections circulating amongst the population.

Across the UK, businesses in London are most likely to have had difficulties (60%) with the health and wellbeing of staff, while those in the North of England have been least impacted (44%).

The survey also found that a fifth of those responding (20%) had personally become unwell because of pressure and stress at work, with a further 15% worried that they might do so in future. Those aged 35-44 were the most likely to have become unwell (30%) while those aged over 55 were least likely (just 15%).

Pressure of responsibilities was cited as the main reason for becoming unwell (58%), with a similar proportion feeling over-worked (57%), while more than half (55%) reporting poor work life balance as a cause. 

Gareth Oakley, Managing Director of Business Banking at Lloyds Bank said: “The wellbeing and health of employees should always be a priority, but never more so than now, when we are dealing with the impact of the pandemic. Small businesses are working hard to support their workforces and, as our research shows, the ongoing influence of the past year on staff’s health can’t be underestimated. The months ahead may be a testing time for some British businesses, so it’s vital that employers continue to focus on both their own well-being and that of their employees.”

Mental Health in the Workplace 

Lloyds Bank has resources available to help small businesses with health and wellbeing in the workplace. Small business owners can access the Mental Health in the Workplace online hub, developed in collaboration with Mental Health UK. This provides practical help and guidance for small business owners around health and wellbeing, plus specialist resources from Mental Health UK to support their employees.