The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for August 14

Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Small Business News Highlights for August 14: 

  • USPS delays harming small businesses 
  • The ongoing debate about unemployment benefits and the unemployment rate
  • Stress may decrease productivity by up to 2 hours a day, research finds

USPS is hurting small businesses

“Package delivery for them is often vital. They have to get whatever it is they’re making to their customers; they have to get from their suppliers whatever it is they need. And if that service is not available, what happens to those small businesses? They shut down. That’s horrible for them.”

The United States Postal Service has been in the headlines recently and some people believe that the election is not the only thing in jeopardy related to mail delivery delays. 

Small businesses depend on the postal service for stocking and shipping inventory, receiving and processing payments, and sending out invoices. SBOs and other advocates note that cutbacks at the post office have the potential to harm small business, particularly those in rural areas. 

Debate about unemployment benefits is back in the spotlight

“This is not rocket science, folks. When you pay people more to sit at home than to go back to work, they sit at home.”

Earlier this year, social scientists released studies indicating that expanded unemployment benefits would not negatively impact American workers from going back to work. With the news that new unemployment claims dropped below a million for the first time in months just weeks after the federally-subsidized payments stopped going out, the debate about unemployment benefits is back in the spotlight. 

Many business owners reported that large unemployment checks made it harder to entice workers to fill open positions when they could make more money staying at home, shielded from the risk of contracting coronavirus. 

While some economists believe that drop in unemployment coinciding with the end of federally-subsidized payments is not coincidental, others argue that the checks don’t actually keep people from working. 

Stress may decrease productivity by up to 2 hours a day, research finds

“The line between work stress and life stress has been dissolved. Stress in any area of someone’s life contributes to, or is exacerbated by, stress at work.”

A recent survey found that stress may cause employees to lose up to 2 hours of productivity per day. The emotional toll of the ongoing pandemic has caused a significant decline in the self-reported mental health of workers who have managed to keep their job throughout the economic turmoil.

Concerns about working from home, childcare related issues, school, lack of social support, and watching other colleagues get laid off has caused stress for workers — so much so that almost a quarter or workers say they lose an hour a day to stress and 21% report losing at least two hours.

Employers are wise to keep employee mental health in mind, particularly as dynamics and conditions shift and workers are forced to adapt quickly.

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