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Covid-Related Burnout Is Having A Big Impact On Small Business Owners: Survey

Covid has had a devastating impact on many small businesses, forcing hundreds of thousands of them to shut down. Now comes word about the impact the disease has had on small business owners.

A new survey from Capital One Business found that many of the owners are exhausted. And for good reason.

According to the company, the survey found that “small business owners are acutely feeling the impact on their mental well being and their ability to maintain work-life balance as a result of navigating pandemic-related disruptions and fluctuating mandates across the country for nearly two years.

“And this burnout is likely…compounded by additional challenges, including rising inflation, The Great Resignation, and the current Omicron surge.”

Janice Litvin, the author of the Banish Burnout Toolkit, said that, “unreasonable workloads and deadlines eventually cause burnout. True burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as chronic stress that is not successfully managed.”

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Burnout can create a crisis at and for any organization. The crisis can be much worse for small businesses, however, especially if owners have no help. According to the Small Business Administration, 81%, or 25.7 million, have no employees.

Major Capital One Small Business Survey Results

Burnout And Exhaustion

  • 42% of small business owners have reported recently experiencing burnout.
  • The burnout is disproportionately affecting the nation’s minority business owners. Sixty-two percent of them reported that they recently experienced burnout, and nearly a quarter have experienced almost constant mental exhaustion.

No Vacation

  • More than half (52%) of the business owners have not taken a vacation in the past year.
  • Many report that they feel run down and mentally exhausted, with 62% of business owners reporting having worked longer hours.

Impact On Mental Well-Being

  • 45% of business owners report that running a business during the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental well-being.
  • A third said they weren’t able to get proper sleep.

Work-Life Balance

  • More than a quarter (26%) of business owners report that their work-life balance is worse compared to before the pandemic.

Survey Methodology

The Capital One Business Survey was conducted among U.S. small business owners. Small businesses are defined as those with total annual revenues less than $20 million. The survey collected insights from 1,000 business owners. It was conducted by Morning Consult from an online panel from November 17 to November 21, 2021. The margin of error for business owners is +/-3%.

Some Optimism For The Future

Many small business owners are nothing if not optimistic, however.

According to the survey, more than half (52%) of the business owners expect their work-life balance to improve in the next six months and 63% expect business conditions in their area to improve in 2022.

Given the important role small businesses play in the U.S. economy, there is lot riding on the ability of their owners to bounce back from Covid’s impact on their health. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 31.7 million small businesses in this country. More than 80%, or 25.7 million, have no employees and 19 percent, or six million, have paid employees.


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