It’s pleasing to see that workplace mental health is now recognised as a key ingredient to business success. There has certainly been an increase in academic research underway in this area. However, most of this work and application has happened in large businesses and focused on employees.
In Australia, nearly 98% of all businesses are small (less than 20 employees) and 64% of all businesses are sole-traders– the person who works in the business, owns the business. What does positive workplace mental health mean for people in these businesses? We cannot assume that what we know about employees would be the same for employers or soloists. After all, working conditions and environments are vastly different for both groups.
That’s what my research is looking at. What does it mean to work well in a micro-business? What affects the mental health of business owners and what’s the consequences of this situation? I'm now in the final year of my PhD research and as I begin to synthesize my findings I'll share my thoughts over at my YouTube channel here. Don't expect anything too glamorous, but if you're interested in learning how to stay in small business for the long-term, or learn how to better support micro-business owners then you might find the channel interesting. The other option is to sign up for my newsletter via the contact page.
I was very grateful to receive a research grant from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) last year and this helped me to gather quality data from over 30 fantastic micro-business owners and sole-traders. I am so grateful for their honesty and insights. My full findings will be available on completion of my PhD however I did produce two industry reports for SIRA as part of the funding agreement. You can access these reports below. My thanks to Dr Courtney Molloy and Dr Karen Handley (my supervisors at the University of Newcastle) for their guidance, expertise and support.
Click here to access and download my micro-business mental health review of current practices.
Click here to access and download my micro-business research findings for SIRA.