Chamber Asks Why Mental Health Matters to Businesses

South Kootenay Professionals Voice Their Opinions

The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce is uniquely positioned with a membership represented by small, medium, and large companies from every industry. The Chamber advocates for inclusivity, innovation, and professional competitiveness and believes that when businesses succeed, they can help sustainably grow communities and support families. By championing the collective voice of Chamber members, we strive to create an environment in which businesses prosper, families thrive, and communities flourish. That’s why we’re sharing South Kootenay experts’ voices in select Chamber Stories, which will discuss relevant subjects in a question-and-answer format that showcases our business community’s insights and lived experiences.

We asked: How are business and mental health related and why should mental health matter to business owners?

Phil Loosley, business owner & facilitator, LightSwitch ConsultingPhil Loosley, owner & facilitator, LightSwitch Consulting

“The work environment occupies a large part of many individuals’ lives and their experiences there can contribute hugely to their mental health state. Those who work in an environment of fear, where they feel they must hide their true selves and be disconnected from colleagues, scared to make mistakes or contribute suggestions, can experience negative mental health impacts. This can easily spill into the other parts of their lives as well as leave them dissatisfied in their working role.

By encouraging team members to be authentic and connect with each other, business owners can create a workforce that is cooperative, productive, and happier in their workplace. Staff members who feel heard and invested in are more likely to be engaged, feel valued, and ultimately stay with an employer.

Mental health should be important to business owners both in terms of recognizing their responsibility to see and treat their staff as real people as well as from a bottom-line perspective. By investing in education, training, and creating a connected, invested team, business owners can benefit through greater productivity, less missed days through health issues, and reduced staff turnover. The benefits of improved mental health extend both ways between employer and employees.”

Mandi Lunan, Food Business Coach

Mandi Lunan, Food Business Coach

“As small business owners, we are the beating hearts of our establishments. To channel our passions into profits and a way to support ourselves is incredibly brave, exciting, and terrifying all at once. We wear so many hats in our day-to-day work lives, and the onset of social media has created a culture of 24/7 entrepreneurship. Gone are the days when we lock the shop and head home. Now we have to contend with content creation, algorithm changes, online reviews, clients expecting service and access outside of business hours, and the never-ending internal battle to set business boundaries guilt-free. Top that off with a culture of always projecting strength and success, and you have a recipe for some serious mental health moments. 

Failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship, but in the business world we often hear that “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Frankly, this planning should include your business and personal boundaries, as well as downtime and lifestyle wishes. Because, simply put, if you’re not well and clear-headed then your business can’t be either. Take holidays. Set office hours. Limit social media time or, better yet, outsource it if possible. Make your business work for you and your life; don’t work for it.”

Lucas Hart, president, Lucas Hart Financial Services Inc.

Lucas Hart, president, Lucas Hart Financial Services Inc.

“The relationship between employers and employees is a mutually beneficial one. Employers take care of employees and vice versa; a part of that is quality health and dental benefits. The benefits world has evolved recently and continues to do so. Along with ensuring employees’ children can get their teeth cleaned, providing mental health resources for employees and their families is now an integral part of that program. For example, we work with every insurer out there — along with the Chamber Plan — and most companies are expanding mental health services in their plans. The Chamber’s Plan is definitely leading the pack in that they were one of the first to expand and have the best general coverage, making it easy for members to quickly access the specific help they need.

Why does this matter? Employees under stress often have trouble performing the regular duties of their job, to the point where they may not be able to work at all. A company’s duty should be to take care of the employees that provide it value; happy and healthy employees are the ones that best provide that value in the short and long term. If an employee under stress is able to get the help they need through the benefits provided, they will always remember who provided those services to them. This not only improves the productivity and quality of our workplaces but our community as a whole.”

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Keep an eye out for more Chamber Stories, published monthly in the Trail Times as well as online. Please also follow us on social media: Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.