An exploration of mental health and well-being workplace practices within family firms

ERC Insight paper

Associated Themes
  • Mental Health
  • Productivity and performance

This paper explores the workplace practices that family-owned firms adopt to support mental health & well-being and reduce work-related risk factors. Guided by our novel dataset from the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) Mental Health and Productivity survey on firms in England that reflects pre, during, and post-COVID-19 pandemic, a descriptive analysis is presented. This analysis offers the first insight into family and non family firms’ behavior towards, and experiences of, managing mental health & well-being. Some trends are common across both family and non family firms: most firms (family & non family) measure and monitor sickness absence with the proportion of both family and non family firms reporting mental health sickness-related absence falling then bouncing back during the pandemic.

Differences are also observed, however: while the proportion of both family and non family firms engaging in activities to improve workplace mental health has increased during the pandemic these activities are notably less common among family firms. The lower uptake of mental health-related activities in family firms appears to be linked to financial constraints, as family firms are more likely to have adopted activities that do not require a financial investment. This initial analysis suggests some directions for future research.