Pandemic-related stress still a reality for four in five small businesses

CFIB aims to assist company owners in promoting workplace wellness with new program

Pandemic-related stress still a reality for four in five small businesses

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has announced a new online initiative to help small business owners who are still grappling with the stress-inducing repercussions of the global pandemic.

With Workplace Wellness, CFIB offers entrepreneurs resources and tools to enhance wellness in their companies.

The online portal, created in collaboration with Nexim Canada (PrimaSure), has free articles, webinars, printable posters, and templates, including ones to design a policy for disengaging from work and workplace rules for respect.

Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB, said, "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."

"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," she added.

Recent research from CFIB found that 78% of small business owners are still coping with pandemic worry.

Businesses in the hospitality (91%), social services (91%), business and administrative management (90%), and information, arts, and recreation (88%) sectors are more severely affected by the pandemic's ongoing effects.

Focusing on wellness might help with retention for workers who may be on the point of burnout or departing at a time when small business owners' main growth limitation is hiring and keeping people.

According to CFIB’s study, 31% of small company owners have made more mental health services and/or information available to their staff members since the pandemic's inception.

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"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,” Pohlmann said. “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."

Briana Desormeau, Vice-President, Nexim Canada, commented. "We encourage business owners to reflect on how they can encourage their employees to lead a healthier lifestyle. 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."