According to the latest research conducted by GoProposal, we have now entered the most stressful months for small businesses, with 1 in 2 business owners saying they lose sleep due to stress and mental health worries.

Research demonstrates that 44% of small business owners in the UK believe November and December are the “most stressful” months of the year for employees in their business. This is followed by January and February, which received 33% of the vote.

The survey asked 750 small business owners in the UK and discovered that over half of businesses either have no mental health support in place for their employees or have support processes that aren’t used enough.

Whether this is due to the pressures for businesses leading up to Christmas, dealing with illness, other absences or the darker days throughout winter, the research highlighted the increasing pressure around small businesses.

Business owners said the biggest barriers to employees talking about their mental health and stress included the fear of career implications (40%), a heavy workload (38%), the feeling that there is no one to talk to (32%), and even just long working hours (29%), highlighting a long list of obstacles preventing employees seeking support, despite being in need.

Interestingly, those businesses who do have mental health support in place that is utilised effectively, 92% have seen improvements in performance and productivity among employees. GoProposal spoke to Dr Chloe Mitchell, a BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist, to gain her insight into how to cope and speak about mental health in a business environment:

There is no shame in discussing physical health in the workplace. We accept that when a person has a physical health issue they go to a doctor for guidance, prognosis and treatment. The same does not apply to mental health conditions and leaders need to lead the way to normalise mental health discussion.

A lot of it is about holding space in the workplace that allows for vulnerable emotions to be seen as human, for conversations about stress, depression, anxiety and grief to be completely normalised and not seen as signs of a loss of talent, or performance.

Dr Chloe Mitchell, BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Other key findings revealed:

  • 46% of businesses said they believed the most significant stressor impacting mental wellness in employees was the pressure of making mistakes that cost the business money.
  • 54% of owners have worked long and late hours to keep their business on track and running well.
  • 51% of business owners have lost sleep due to the stress, 48% had taken on multiple roles despite not being qualified to do so, and 47% have felt a blurring of home and work life.
  • 80% of workers feel they face barriers when seeking mental health support at work, including 40% who fear career implications

For more information on the survey, and more advice from experts, view the full research here –

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.