By Legal Futures Associate Purbeck Insurance Services
A new survey of the employees of the UK’s small businesses, 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%).
The study was conducted by Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, the UK’s only provider of Professional Risks Personal Guarantee Insurance (PGI) to protect the leaders of solicitors’ firms from the financial risk of signing a personal guarantee to secure PII cover.
In the study, 26% of respondents were 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 for employers. 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.
“Purbeck protects small business owners and directors from the risks of signing personal guarantees for business loans, in addition to our Professional Risks Personal Guarantee Insurance for the owners and partners of solicitors’ firms. October 2021 was our busiest month to date as small business owners secured new finance to sustain and grow their businesses, often with the support of their solicitor.
“While we must now learn to live with Covid-19, this year will be tough for many small firms. However, there are reasons to be positive and legal firms are in a good position to help their small business clients understand their finance options and how to mitigate the risks of personal guarantees as lenders will increasingly demand this form of security for loans.”
*Survey conducted by Gorkana for Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, January 2022, amongst 500 employees of small businesses in the UK