Mental Health Awareness Week: The Surprising Mental Health Impact of Small vs. Large Companies

by | May 18, 2023

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It’s Mental Health Awareness week 15th – 21st May, therefore we wanted to take a look at one of the aspects of life that can really impact our mental health: the workplace. 

As the boundaries of traditional workspaces continue to blur, an intriguing question presents itself: Where is the best environment for an employee’s mental health – a small business or a large corporation?


“Examining the mental health dynamics between large corporations and small businesses paints a compelling picture,” says Jeremy Reis, the founder of Explore Startups. “In large corporations, employees often have access to structured support systems and resources that are specifically designed to promote mental health. This can be a powerful safeguard. 

However, the sheer size of these entities can make employees feel like a small cog in a large machine, which can lead to feelings of insignificance and isolation. 

Contrastingly, the intimate environment of a small business can foster a strong sense of community and purpose, but the lack of formal resources and the potential for instability can also pose significant stressors. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, but understanding these differences is a crucial step in fostering healthier work environments tailored to employees’ unique needs.”


Here’s a table that outlines some of the key positives and negatives on an employee’s mental health when working at a small business:

Sense of belonging due to close-knit communityPressure to perform can be intense
More autonomy and direct recognitionBlurred boundaries between work and personal life
Opportunity to witness the direct impact of workPotential for burnout due to lack of work-life balance
Flexible structure accommodating personalized needsLack of formal mental health resources
More involvement and engagement in decision-making processesPotential instability and insecurity of small business
Possibility of more meaningful work relationshipsSmaller teams can mean fewer opportunities for socializing
Generally less bureaucracy, leading to less stressFewer opportunities for professional development or promotion

These insights will be useful for small businesses and employees alike. Employers can make necessary improvements where possible to the way their businesses run and how they look after their employee’s mental health. It’s also beneficial for employees to be aware of the potential impacts their workplace may have on them when applying for jobs.

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