In a bid to celebrate the year’s end and boost employee morale, a significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are offering their staff an extra 2.5 days of annual leave during the Christmas period. This equates to a total of 120 million additional days of leave across the country. Furthermore, 44% of SMEs plan to host festive parties, while 41% will temporarily shut down operations between Christmas and New Year. However, concerns about business prospects for the upcoming year persist, with nearly half of SMEs expressing worries about the future.
Festive Celebrations and Bonuses: As part of the festive spirit, 44% of small and medium-sized firms have organized festive parties for their employees, aiming to celebrate the end of the year. Additionally, 25% of SMEs will be providing Christmas bonuses to their staff members, further recognizing their contributions.
Business Prospects and Concerns: Despite the festive cheer, nearly half (47%) of SMEs express concerns about their business prospects for the next year. Larger businesses are also feeling the impact, with 59% predicting a decrease in consumer spending and 41% worrying about their prospects as they approach 2023. Rising energy bills are another major concern for 68% of SMEs, reflecting the challenges faced by businesses.
Employee Retention and Festive Activities: According to a survey commissioned by Barclays, 41% of SME employers believe that activities leading up to the festive season contribute to employee retention. Similarly, a separate survey of 2,000 consumers reveals that a third (33%) are less likely to seek another job if their employer organizes activities to reward staff during the Christmas period. These findings highlight the positive impact of employee engagement during the festive season.
Employee Benefits and Requests: Among employers experiencing increased demand for benefits from new employees, more annual leave is one of the top three requested benefits by existing staff, as reported by 28% of small businesses. Higher wages (87%) and more flexible working arrangements (56%) are the other primary benefits being sought.
Revenue Growth and Optimism: Barclaycard Payments data shows a slight decrease of 1.58% in the value of card payments to SMEs from July to September 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. However, over half (55%) of SMEs reported overall revenue growth, with an average year-on-year turnover increase of around 9.1%. Businesses remain optimistic, with 51% predicting a year-on-year revenue increase in Q4, and 49% expecting growth from Q3 to Q4 this year.
Many SMEs in the UK are showing appreciation for their employees during the festive season by granting an extra 2.5 days of annual leave, totaling 120 million days across the country. Festive parties and Christmas bonuses are also being utilized to reward and engage staff. However, concerns about future business prospects persist, reflecting the challenges faced by SMEs. Despite this, businesses are resilient and optimistic, aiming to celebrate their achievements and welcome the New Year with renewed energy and positivity.