Illustration of a woman working from home
Illustration of a woman working from home

Practical tips to help run your small business from home

We’re all facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on small business owners is significant. Here’s some practical advice to help you navigate this tricky time.

We’re working in ways we’ve likely never had to before.

Pressure on revenue, employee management issues including staffing levels, working from home arrangements for short or extended periods, and planning for the future while dealing with the present, are all weighty issues that need to be addressed.

Looking after your own mental health as well as that of your staff is equally important.

It’s important that you seek support – this will not only be good for your mental health but good for your business too.

Beyond Blue has previously developed a  guide for small business owners  that may be useful.

This is also a good time to re-visit or, if you haven’t already, develop a wellbeing plan to help you adjust to your new working situation.

If you know a small business owner who is struggling, please visit the Supporting small businesses page of our website for information about how you can help them improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Supporting employees

If you’re a manager, it’s important to think about how you can support your employees during these uncertain times.

  • Maintain regular communication with your employees
  • Keep staff up to date about your business’ response to the coronavirus outbreak
  • Make sure your staff are aware of the support that is available to them (for example, if you have an Employee Assistance Program [EAP] in place)
  • If you’re concerned about a workmate, make sure to check in, have a conversation with them and encourage them to get the support they need
  • Consider some of our tips for managers to help you maintain a mentally healthy workplace
  • Don't forget to take time to look after yourself

Working from home safely and productively

During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are either already working from home, or are likely to have to work from home for a period of time. With this in mind, here are some tips for employees and managers that will help support everyone’s mental health.

If you need to work from home, you should:

  • maintain a healthy work-life balance by setting time limits
  • create a separate office or workspace, if possible
  • move around every hour, and go outside once a day (if it’s responsible to do so)
  • choose a good chair and set up your computer properly
  • keep connected to colleagues and communicate daily with your manager
  • set a work schedule for the day and stick to it
  • shower, and dress comfortably, as if you’re going to the office
  • keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meals.

If you are a small business owner, or a manager with a team working from home, you should:

  • ensure employees are aware of resources to support their mental health and wellbeing
  • be aware that individual circumstances vary and consider options to support each team member’s needs
  • provide strong IT support and guidelines for remote working so employees can be fully productive
  • be mindful of the disruption that potential school closures may cause to families
  • agree on working hours that employees know they are not expected to work beyond
  • touch base with each team member daily and have regular longer one-to-one meetings
  • remind employees to work in ways that are kind to their mind and body
  • maintain regular virtual team meetings; advise teams to stay as connected as possible
  • remember that being a manager doesn’t make you immune to the same stresses as your employees and that you need to look after yourself too.

Accessing support

Beyond Blue Support Services

If you need assistance please visit the dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. Trained mental health professionals are available to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via phone.

Financial support for those who have lost their job

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs to support themselves and their families.

If you are experiencing financial hardship

If you are experiencing financial hardship, the National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.

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