Financial pressure today – 20 January, or ‘Blue Monday’ – is causing increased stress for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, says a study.
Almost nine in ten (87%) business leaders are “blue” manging money matters in January, that is impacting their work and home life. This is according to insight from Allstar Business Solutions into the concerns of 500 SME business owners and senior decision makers.
The third Monday in January is referred to as the most depressing day of the year, or more commonly as ‘Blue Monday’. The concept was coined in 2004 by psychologist Cliff Arnall who used a formula that took into account factors such as weather, debt, the post-Christmas lull and low motivation.
January is a key time for SME bosses managing key financial and business concerns and the true cost of these business-related headaches is wide reaching. Four in five (84%) fear their stress will impact not only themselves but their families, businesses, colleagues and friends.
Similarly, expenses have also been found to be having an impact on the wellbeing of staff, with more than a third (37%) of bosses observing an increase in staff stress levels in January.
The study found that admin headaches extend to manual expense management. Bosses estimate that a quarter of their staff waste over five hours a month on manual expense management tasks, time that could be better spent elsewhere in the business. Such inefficiency is compounded by two thirds (66%) of SME employees who are also having difficulty returning to a normal pace of work in the new year, taking up to two weeks on average.
As well as dealing with employee related issues, over half (54%) of SME leaders are “blue” from chasing payments from customers and over a third (35%) are suffering from the increased admin leftover from the Christmas break.
Speaking about the impact of the findings, Thore Vestergaard, MD of Commercial Cards, Allstar Business Solutions, explains: “January is a difficult time for all businesses, but we are finding that small businesses are particularly feeling the squeeze this Blue Monday. Financial pressures, business admin and external factors are proving an increasing burden for SME bosses that is extending to their home lives. Our focus is to ease these headaches by making expense management simple.”