Auckland businesses are under increasing amounts of stress, a cause for concern amid fears of the worst of the economic downturn still ahead.
A survey of over 1000 Auckland businesses with under 50 employees found that stress levels remain high among firms located throughout the country's most populous city.
More than 60 per cent of firms surveyed by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) between June and July said Covid-19 has had a "significant" or "very significant" impact on their wellbeing and stress levels.
Wellbeing and stress levels have remained a consistent concern for Auckland businesses. In three separate surveys conducted by Ateed, the results were each above 62 per cent when asked about the impact of Covid-19 on stress.
About 53 per cent of businesses said they have changed their product, service or experience since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, while 45 per cent said they had updated their continuity planning.
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Forty per cent said they had begun targeting new markets and 35 per cent said they had enabled flexible working as a result of the pandemic.
Pam Ford, general manager of economic development at Ateed, said she was concerned about the wellbeing of small firms as more change was expected to come as uncertainty weighed in.
"I've heard many of these business owners saying they worked harder than ever during lockdown - it wasn't sourdough and yoga for everyone during that time - and I think the uncertainty that we are going to continue to face will have a huge impact," Ford told the Herald.
"There's a bit of fear with the wage subsidy coming off and the realisation that sectors like tourism and international education are stunted for the time being. So much of the Auckland economy is around retail, hospitality and the like, and then the reality that the whole world is affected - that impact on our supply chains and the ability for manufacturers generating new orders offshore is becoming more and more difficult, as well as the cost of freighting and exports, as time goes on and the world is still in a really horrendous place, the harsh realities for these business owners is getting a bit more challenging."
"Trending" high stress levels among Auckland businesses was a cause for concern, Ford said.
Collaborating or similar businesses joining together was one way owners could lighten their work load and therefore alleviate some of the stress felt by many, she said.
Other survey findings show that 88 per cent of Auckland firms are now back in business after lockdown. Seven out of 10 of those are operating at reduced levels.
55 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted more support for growth and sustainability, 50 per cent said business strategy and planning was the immediate priority at present and 45 per cent said marking.
More than half of firms surveyed said the cost of accessing advice was preventing them from seeking support they needed. Sole traders were found to not know what business support was available to them.
More than 170,000 businesses operate in Auckland.
For information about support available for businesses via the Regional Business Partner Network, click here.