SMEs Almost 66% of owners are near burnout

The mental health of entrepreneurs is threatened after two years of pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners say they are “closer to burnout than ever.”

Posted yesterday at 2:30 p.m.

Stephen Rolland
Canadian press

This is the conclusion of a series of surveys conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) among its members since the beginning of the pandemic. The results are analyzed in the report “On the brink of the abyss: mental health in Canadian small and medium enterprises”, published on Tuesday.

The situation is worrying, says Jasmine Genet, CFIB’s vice president of national affairs. “It’s usually very exhausting to run your own small business,” he said in an interview. The SME owner is often the one who takes care of all operations in the organization. »

The pandemic has added additional stress for entrepreneurs, according to the CFIB, which has been surveying its members on their mental health since 2018. Many entrepreneurs had to get into debt to overcome the crisis. On average, Canadian SMEs have borrowed almost $ 160,000 due to the pandemic.


PHOTO GIVEN CFIB

The situation is worrying, says Jasmine Genet, CFIB’s vice president of national affairs. “It’s usually very exhausting to run your own small business,” he said in an interview. The SME owner is often the one who takes care of all operations in the organization. »

Small business owners work very long to keep their business afloat in very difficult conditions.

Jasmine Genet, CFIB Vice President of National Affairs

Not surprisingly, the report shows that owners’ mental health is more vulnerable in companies that find themselves in a more difficult position due to the pandemic. Owners who say they are closest to burnout are less likely to run a business that has fully resumed operations, recalled all its employees, or returned to its “normal” income threshold.

Owners and employees often find themselves in the same mood within the same company. Among entrepreneurs who are “close to burnout”, 75% said they know that at least one of their employees has “shaky” mental health.

For all SME owners, this figure is 54%. In 2020, only 35% of small business owners had this concern.

54% of respondents believe that the mental health problems associated with the pandemic are detrimental to business productivity. This assumption is particularly common in finance and insurance (65%), social services (64%) and arts, entertainment and information (61%).

Falling taboo

Mr. Genet still sees good news in the owners’ responses. He notes that entrepreneurs and workers are increasingly open to the idea of ​​talking about mental health.

Seven out of 10 business owners say they are comfortable discussing this topic with their employees. Barriers are also falling among employees: six out of ten feel comfortable discussing the subject with their supervisor.

Being open does not mean that you feel well-prepared to support your employees. Only 31% of small business owners believe that they are well prepared to address the mental health problems of their employees, compared to half of those who believe that they are poorly prepared.

“Of course, this is a challenge for small and medium-sized business owners: they are not mental health professionals. »