Pandemic has left 65% of small business owners struggling with their mental health

A recent survey has revealed how the COVID pandemic has impacted small business owners across the UK.

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The stress experienced by small business owners has resulted in 65% of them suffering from mental health issues, according to a survey recently commissioned by accounting software provider Freshbooks.

The most common problems are anxiety and depression (31%) with 30% of business owners suffering from sleep deprivation.

The report was carried out as a result of the difficult period the small business sector has faced as a result of the pandemic, and restrictions that have plagued the country for almost two years.

The survey asked 1,000 businesses a range of questions, including how they felt the government had tackled the COVID pandemic. We’ve highlighted the most important findings from the report.

How small business owners think the UK government handled the crisis

When asked in the FreshBooks survey about the amount of support small business owners received from the government during the pandemic, 43% felt they had received a lack of guidance from the government.

Many businesses were left unable to reopen throughout large periods of the pandemic due to the lockdown restrictions imposed, and some of them have only just reopened after almost eighteen months. Others have been relying on furlough to pay their staff up until the end of September when the furlough scheme ended.

The guidelines and rules throughout the varying restrictions around the country have been confusing, and this is even more evident from the 53% of small business owners who reported they felt disappointed with the way the government has dealt with them.

The ten industries most impacted by the pandemic

There's no denying the pandemic has had an effect on every industry, and for the majority, it has had a negative impact – with the total cost of Covid-19 for small businesses being upwards of £126.bn.

Out of the small businesses surveyed, the ten industries that have most felt the impact of the pandemic are:

  1.       Hospitality (88%)
  2.       Tourism (80%)
  3.       Travel (79%)
  4.       Retail (72%)
  5.       Beauty (60%)
  6.       Fitness (59%)
  7.       Manufacturing (50%)
  8.       Agricultural (49%)
  9.       Media (40%)
  10.       PR and Marketing (39%)

It’s no surprise that hospitality and tourism are the industries most impacted, as international travel has been banned during the majority of the pandemic.

As for hospitality businesses, according to Lightspeeds Global State of Hospitality Report 2021, 38% of UK merchants are still operating with fewer employees than needed, with 14% forced to reduce opening hours.

Discussing the survey results, Twyla Verhelst, Head of FreshBooks Accountant Channel said:

“The pandemic has been tough on a lot of businesses, especially small business owners, so it’s no surprise many of them feel disappointed in the lack of support and guidance they’ve received from the government. It’s harrowing to read how so many of them are suffering from mental health problems, either through stress and anxiety or just a lack of sleep.”

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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