A new campaign has been launched to help improve the health and wellbeing of small business owners, the self-employed and the staff of small employers.
The campaign has been launched by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in response to a rise in incidents of health and mental health conditions across the UK's workforce, including business owners and the self-employed.
Research from the FSB's medical and health advice service, has found that the number of small businesses seeking mental health advice has doubled in the past five years.
Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: "Owning and running a business can be hugely rewarding. However, it brings with it demands, responsibilities and risks that can bring personal pressures that can impact a person's health and wellbeing.
"Wellbeing can help increase our productivity, improve our performance and reduce absenteeism. There is a clear business case, however, the benefits are felt just as much in our health as individuals, but also by our communities and the wider economy."
Working with a number of bodies, including Public Health England and the mental health charity Mind, the FSB has produced Wellbeing in Small Business: a short guide, aimed at providing small businesses owners and the self-employed with ideas they can use to improve mental health and wellbeing. The guide includes advice on how to start conversations about stress, mental health and wellbeing, tackling loneliness, managing pressure, networking and in-work fitness groups.
Despite the fact that 60% of the UK's private sector workforce are employed by small businesses, advice and support on health and wellbeing to date has mainly been focused on large companies.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, said: "Britain's 5.5 million small businesses are the backbone of the nation's economy so it is imperative that they have the tools they need to keep their workforce healthy.
"Staff who are healthy in work are more productive and businesses that promote a progressive approach to wellbeing can see a significant impact on business performance. This invaluable guide from the FSB highlights simple steps a small employer can take to help improve the health of their employees."