As Blue Monday approaches on 17th January 2022, a new survey of the employees of the UK’s small businesses by Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance has found that 25% feel more stressed and anxious than prior to the pandemic, 18% feel isolated, 18% are not sleeping well and 16% feel more depressed. More people (20%) feel worried about their mental health than their physical health (16%).
Furthermore, 26% are worried about money, making this the chief cause of concern for small business workers. Cost of living increases will have a big part to play but the survey also found that 56% have not had a pay rise in the past year. Of those that have had a pay rise (35%), men were more likely than women to have seen a boost to their wages in 2021. 9% had a bonus instead of a pay rise.
Overall, the survey found that 67% of workers feel their mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic. This is a marginal increase on 65% recorded in the same survey in 2021, conducted during the winter 20/21 lockdown.
Todd Davison, MD of Purbeck Insurance Services said “2022 has had a much better start than 2021 yet we are not seeing a marked improvement in the mental health of the UK’s small business workers, in fact, it has deteriorated which will be a big concern to small business owners. This will be down to a combination of factors, not least fears over the rising cost of living balanced against the fact that income has not increased in the past year for over half of those we surveyed. This isn’t wholly surprising as many small businesses are in recovery mode. At the same time, most pandemic support measures have now scaled back meaning small firms are having to stand on their own two feet financially.
“October 2021 was our busiest month to date as small business owners secured new finance to sustain and grow their businesses. Clearly we are by no means out of the woods as far as the pandemic is concerned and this year will be tough for many small firms. However, there are reasons to be positive and small business owners are in a good position to recognise when their employees are struggling with stresses and anxieties and can encourage them to seek support from friends, family and health professionals. While they may not be a position do much about money worries, rewards don’t always need to be financial.”