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How Can SMEs Cope with the Impact of Anxiety?

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How Can SMEs Cope with the Impact of Anxiety?

When you consider all of the potential challenges and pitfalls that can derail small businesses, absenteeism is not necessarily top of the list. This represents a huge oversight, however, as it is currently costing businesses a total of 6.9 days and £100 billion every single year.

At the heart of this is a rising level of anxiety among the current generation of employees, who are increasingly concerned about their long-term job prospects and how they are perceived by their colleagues. To underline this, a study completed by Direct Blinds revealed that 48% of UK workers admitted to experiencing anxiety over the prospect of attending meetings at work, with many calling in sick to avoid such instances.

Make no mistake; anxiety can have a significant impact on the successful operation and profitability of SMEs across the UK. With this in mind, here are some tips to help small businesses cope:

  1. Calculate the Financial Cost of Absenteeism

Before you can tackle absenteeism and propose viable solutions, you need to evaluate the true impact that it is having within your business. After all, if your solutions cost more to implement than the financial cost of absenteeism you will run the risk of losing money and damaging your long-term growth.

To avoid this scenario, you should consider deploying the so-called Bradford Factor. This is a formula that calculates the exact cost of each individual absence, while it works along the basic theory that short and frequent absences tend to be more disruptive than those that last longer.

You should definitely empower your human resources team to deploy the Bradford Factor, so that you can begin to understand the level of absenteeism within the venture. From here, it is far easier to implement efficient and cost-effective solutions that achieve core business objectives.

  1. Understand the Underlying Issues That Cause Anxiety

It is also crucial that you strive to understand the core issues that drive anxiety and absenteeism within your business. This is important if you are to eliminate the problem in the longer-term, while laying the foundations for a brighter commercial future.

According to the study conducted by Direct Blinds, the fear of being sacked is the single biggest trigger of anxiety in the workplace. It therefore makes sense for SMEs to create some form of job security for permanent staff members, perhaps by employing a core team at the heart of the venture and contracting temporary workers on the basis of individual projects.

This helps to reduce annual wage bills, minimising that permanent staff members will lose their roles over time.

By understanding this and the other issues that contribute to employee anxiety within your business,  you can improve the well-being of your staff members and create a more productive working environment going forward.

  1. Diminish the Illusion of Control 

While anyone who is anxious will have an underlying trigger for their feelings, there are universal traits that embody anxiety. One of these is an overwhelming need to control everything that relates to their specific job role, even those elements that exist outside of their direct remit.

You therefore need to create a focused culture within their workplace, where employees are empowered to focus solely on the elements of their job role that they can control directly. This creates a clear sense of accountability, while it also ensures that your employees can optimise their performance levels and ease any anxieties that they may have.

This process also starts with your behaviour as a manager, as you must also diminish the illusion of control and place a greater emphasis on the role of individual employees within a core team. With this mind-set, you can begin to lead by example and ultimately create a productive and open workplace.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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