When the going gets really tough

Stress at work as posed by model
Stress at work as posed by model

SMALL businesses in the city have thrown their weight behind a new drive against the scourge of stress.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has teamed up with mental health charity mind to publish guidance to help small firms support staff.

Allan Banks, who chairs the North Bucks branch of the FSB, said: “Small businesses are like a tight-knit family and know their staff well, so by their very nature are flexible employers.

“Small businesses have to abide by an array of rules and regulations, but they are best placed to choose what their staff and business needs.”

Mr Banks, who runs relocation consultancy Third Party Delivery, based in Milton Keynes, added: “Small businesses have good relationships with their staff, but this guide suggests ways to help increase productivity and performance of their employees while saving the business money. Many small businesses will already be doing these.”

Conditions such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress affect one in six British workers each year, and can cost businesses up to £26 billion each year.

The FSB worked with Mind to adapt its existing guide, ‘Taking care of business’, to help give advice, including talking to the employee to see what adjustments they might need to their working environment and promoting a supportive working environment.

Sophie Corlett, of Mind, said plenty of small businesses are already half way there. The next step is for employers to acknowledge mental health issues, she added.