Managers of micro-sized enterprises and Covid-19: impact on business operations, work-life balance and well-being

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2021 Dec;80(1):1959700. doi: 10.1080/22423982.2021.1959700.


The aim of this study is to identify how managers of micro-sized enterprises experience the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business operations, work-life balance and well-being. Further, the study aims to make comparisons between managers of micro-sized businesses and managers of small-sized businesses. This mixed-method study is based on qualitative interviews with ten managers of micro-sized enterprises and a questionnaire answered by 95 managers of micro-sized and small-sized enterprises in regions in the north of Sweden. Managers of micro-sized enterprises reported significantly worse scores for mental well-being, job satisfaction and life satisfaction in comparison with managers of small-sized enterprises. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: Changed leadership role, Impact on private life and Impact on well-being. In the interviews, the managers of micro-sized enterprises reported that the pandemic had increased their workload and forced them to mobilise strategies for enterprise survival. This study indicates that managers of micro-sized enterprises had changed their leadership role and increased their workload and number of work tasks, including supporting the employees, developing strategies for business survival and applying for governmental support. However, the managers demonstrated creativity in finding new solutions for their enterprises.

Keywords: Managers of micro-sized enterprises; health; rural area; Covid-19; self-employed; well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Entrepreneurship / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health Services / organization & administration
  • Small Business / organization & administration*
  • Sweden
  • Work-Life Balance*
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data*

Grant support

This project was funded by AFA Insurance in Sweden, reference number 200235. We acknowledge support from Eurofound by the possibility to use questions from their survey concerning Living, working and COVID-19 (Eurofound, 2020).