January 2022: Recent studies that have found money can buy happiness[i] appear to have been substantiated in a new survey of the employees of the UK's small businesses[ii]. As work from home guidance is lifted, people earning over £40k might be lamenting the easing of restrictions. In the study, these higher income earners were most likely to enjoy working from home and reported lower physical and mental health concerns and worries than lower income workers.
In fact, 26% of those earning over £40k said they felt healthier working from home – the highest proportion of any income group studied. Just 14% expressed concerns about their mental health compared to 27% in the £10k-£19,999k income group. The study was conducted by Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, the UK’s only provider of personal guarantee insurance to small business owners.
Overall, the study found that 27% have enjoyed working from home during the pandemic and there was no difference between men and women in this respect. However, 23% have worked longer hours than prior to the pandemic, 24% have found it hard to switch off at the end of the day and 20% have found it hard to concentrate. Women more than men found it harder to switch off at the end of the day while men found it harder to concentrate working from home.
Women reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than men and had more worries over money but both men and women were on a par when asked if they were worried about their mental health with 1 in 5 expressing concern.
Todd Davison, our MD, said: “A return to the office will be welcomed by some more than others and those on higher incomes may find the adjustment difficult. It’s going to be a challenging time for small businesses as they try to return to some semblance of normality and keep staff happy and motivated. Small business owners are also conscious of the ‘great resignation’ plus the rising cost of living and will be keen to ensure they can financially reward workers in the coming year. This will add further pressure to balance sheets. It’s therefore crucial firms focus on their financial resilience, chasing hard on late payments and sourcing new funding where necessary to see them through, what for many will be a make or break year.”
[ii] Survey conducted by Gorkana for Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, January 2022, amongst 500 employees of small businesses in the UK