The mental health of business owners has been surprisingly resilient following a challenging couple of years, according a new report.
The report from the business consultancy BDO examined the link between business performance and wellbeing, by surveying 600 business leaders and owners across the country in late May.
It found that business owners averaged 69 on the World Health Organisation's wellbeing index, suggesting that they were feeling positive about their wellbeing most of the time.
BDO partner Gina Cook said the result came as a "pleasant surprise".
"We had kind of expected that people were maybe still feeling the effects of Covid quite strongly and we were expecting it to be slightly lower."
Respondents were asked about their current wellbeing compared with the peak disruption caused by the pandemic, with 61 percent saying their wellbeing was somewhat or significantly better off, a third reported feeling the same, and 6 percent saying they felt worse.
Cook said she suspected there was a sense of relief that the worst of the pandemic appeared to be over.
"There's certainly a feeling coming through that they are expecting the impacts of Covid-19 to reduce, even though we are in a period of high inflation, and interest rates going up.
"We're also seeing at the same time that borders have now reopened, there's certainly sentiment that we are hoping to see more tourism, a little bit more spending perhaps in hospitality."
There was sentiment of optimism, she said.
Wellbeing differed widely across industries.
Construction and Agriculture scored highly, which coincided with the strength of building activity during the pandemic and high commodity prices for primary exports.
Tourism and healthcare scored in the low 60s, while retail scored 56, likely reflecting the significant financial disruptions caused by Covid-19.
The survey found that 44 percent of business leaders had felt "less mentally healthy than normal" at some point in the past six months.
The top three drivers of stress singled out were the effects of the pandemic, financial concerns and external economic/political factors.
Cook said in her experience, the companies that fared the best during the pandemic were those who were the most financially prepared.
"Having a solid business plan, detailed financial projections, understanding where your cash is coming from, what your monthly expenditure is, what your working capital cycle is - all these things enable businesses to navigate much more easily when unexpected events happen."
But Cook said many business owners had a tendency for a 'Number 8 Wire' mentality, where they were everything within the business, from the book keeper to the IT specialist.
"It is really important for their own wellbeing that they do actually try to spend some time out of the business and focusing on the business."
That included focusing more on the financial aspects of the business and considering bringing more people in to take the pressure off, Cook said.