Recession and automation are two of the most fear-inducing topics for business owners. In the long term, businesses are fearful that automation tools will take over their workplaces entirely at some point, displacing their workers. In the short term, owners are concerned about what the recession will do to their finances and businesses overall. Before we dive into strategies to help you address your fears so that your mental and financial health remains intact, let’s take a deeper look at automation and recession concerns.
Manage Mental and Financial Health
An Overview of Automation and Recession Concerns
Although automation is a recent development, it’s been a rampant concern as more businesses find ways to apply it within their processes. As of 2018, “More than one-third of Irish adults fear their jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence or robots, with 11 percent expecting it to happen in the next six to 10 years.”
However, in reality, automation tools probably won’t ever replace human workers. When used correctly, automation enhances the work humans do rather than replacing it. These tools take over repetitive tasks like data collection and email outreach, freeing human workers for activities requiring a creative, human touch.
In regards to recession concerns, they’re legit. For one, Britain’s year-long recession has had an impact on Irish businesses through their displaced exports. In addition, the Irish economy is slowing down due to less consumer spending and investing. Moreover, interest rates are climbing at banks, causing even more of a rift in business finances.
Managing Mental and Financial Health Amidst Fears
If you have fears about how automation will fit into your workplace or of the recession causing you to close your doors for good, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, use these strategies to maintain your mental and financial health as you navigate your fears.
Create tangible and meaningful goals
Not only have recession and automation fears contributed to increased anxiety among business owners, but so have business closures, slowdowns, and lockdowns caused by the pandemic. Many owners are worrying incessantly about the uncertainty of business ownership in the future.
For any fears you have, whether they’re centered around automation or the recession, it’s best to create tangible and meaningful business goals. Doing so can give you and your business concrete steps to look forward to, even if there are murky waters directly ahead.
When establishing your goals, ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want your business to look like in five years?
What are your financial goals?
Do you have any new target audiences you want to reach?
Where do you want your business to expand?
Once you answer these questions, you can start establishing short and long-term goals. When making these goals, make tangible step-by-step plans for the best results.
Manage your debt
Maintaining your financial health through a recession isn’t possible without managing your debt effectively. Unfortunately, many business owners make the mistake of taking on more debt to stay on top of financial obligations, which only increases the chances of being swallowed up by a recession.
To avoid this, audit your business debt regularly. Consider who you owe and how you’re making payments toward paying it off. Look at your monthly income as well to see if you can maintain your payment schedule.
If you can’t audit regularly by yourself, it’s a good idea to talk to a financial specialist to get guidance on the best way to manage your debt and see your options for paying it down.
Nurture your personal life
Even though you should be evaluating your debt and establishing short and long-term goals within your business to decrease your stress, sometimes the best way to assuage your fears is to take a step back from your business. Never taking a break from work isn’t the answer for your business finances or, more importantly, your mental wellness.
When you have a fulfilled personal life, you understand that business isn’t the most important thing in the world. Instead, spending time with your loved ones, how you feel about yourself, your passions, and living with purpose is.
So, nurture your personal life. Create boundaries for yourself so you don’t spend endless periods focused on work. Clock out — metaphorically and literally — and spend time with the people you love or work on hobbies you enjoy. That way, you’ll remain mentally, emotionally, and even financially whole, even if automation and the recession prevail.
Create a support system
Navigating automation and recession fears as a business owner are especially challenging when you’re doing it by yourself. It’ll take much longer to get through them when you don’t have anyone to talk to and lean on to create a path forward.
That’s why creating a support system is essential. Reach out to a few business owners you trust and talk with them about how they’re moving through the shift to automation and the recession. You can also discuss mental health-related issues you’re experiencing and ask for advice on how to navigate them while still running your business.
Family and friends should also be a part of your support system. They’re who you’ll feel most comfortable venting to and being vulnerable with. The more honest you are with them, the more productive their support can be.
Seek professional help when needed
Fear can be so hard on your mental health that you may find support from a professional is necessary. Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you should embrace the experience, as it’s one of the best ways to ensure mental and emotional wellness.
Determine what you would like help with regarding your mental health. Then, research various mental health professionals and what they do. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and therapists have varying levels of education, responsibilities, and methods. So, take your time combing through the details of what they do, matching the right specialty with your mental health needs, and scheduling an appointment.
Automation and recession fears are real. However, they shouldn’t guide your business decision-making or harm your mental health. Instead, start with the strategies above to ensure you maintain your mental and financial health while navigating automation and recession concerns.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer passionate about workplace equity, and whose published works cover sociology, politics, business, education, health, and more.