According to new research by Xero, almost eight in ten (78 per cent) small business owners believe that their personal wellbeing, and that of their employees, directly impacts the health of their business.
As a result, the old adage ‘you snooze, you lose’ is being disregarded, with three in five (63 per cent) ranking a good night’s sleep as the most important way to achieve mental wellbeing – overshadowing support from family and friends (59 per cent) or taking time off (39 per cent).
While the responsibility of owning and running a small business can cause restless nights, the benefit of sleep is well documented, with it proven to optimise brain and memory function, maintain overall physical health, spur creativity and reduce stress.
The importance of sleep in relation to performance has already been recognised by big businesses and leading businesspeople alike. In 2016, it was reported that staff at a US insurance group were rewarded financially for getting at least seven hours of shut-eye per night, as part of the firm’s employee benefits.
Earlier this year, multi-millionaire businesswoman Arianna Huffington founded a wellness startup focused on reducing stress and burnout by improving sleep, and has previously talked at great length about the importance of sleep as a way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making.
According to the research, which is featured in the Make or Break Report 2017, over a third (36 per cent) say that encouraging a healthy work-life balance in the workplace has helped make their business more productive in the last year. With small business owners adopting a holistic approach to wellbeing – half (49 per cent) say that they exercise regularly and 57 per cent say they actively try to eat a balanced diet.
Additionally, four in ten (39 per cent) say that taking adequate time off is important, with 53 per cent saying that they plan on taking more time off this year than last.
Josephine Fairley, Green & Black’s co-founder and serial entrepreneur, comments, ‘Your own health and wellbeing is of paramount importance as a small business owner, because if you’re not looking after yourself you will be unable to look after your team. It’s poor management to implement a policy of discouraging employees to take breaks and you always get more out of your staff when they are well rested.
‘A healthy body is intrinsically linked to a healthy mind, too. I attend daily meditation and a yoga class once a week helps to keep my stress levels under control, and I aim for 10,000 steps each day – simply walking from meeting to meeting notches up a surprising number of steps, I find.’
Gary Turner, UK co-founder and managing director says, ‘Our report reveals that small business owners are actively encouraging a healthier work-life balance for themselves and their staff, being rewarded with increased productivity as a result. Running a small business can be all-consuming but it’s great to see that small business owners are taking a holistic approach to their mental wellbeing and are ensuring that the health of their business doesn’t come at the cost of their own.’