Paraskavedekatriaphobia may sound like a tongue twister at first hand, but it a scientific term for the fear of Friday the 13th. This mysterious date and number is widely associated with bad luck, horror films, and all manner of unpleasant happenings. It goes to the extent that some buildings changed the numbering of their 13th floor, and some people would avoid scheduling events on this particular Friday due to their concerns with the number.
The impact is real as Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute report that $700 to $800 million are lost every Friday the 13th as people refuse to travel, make purchases, or operate their business on the day. However, the S&P 500 has generally performed well in the stock market on that date for the past 20 years, which does balance it out. From a business standpoint, there doesn’t seem too much to be worried about, but individual employee productivity may be affected by their own beliefs and concerns. There are also various other dates considered unlucky around the world, and these would have a different effect on the different cultures.
For example, in the Chinese context, the number four is considered to be unlucky, while conversely the number eight is said to hold good fortune. On the other hand, the number 13 is not associated with that culture and hence does not affect that demographic. These nuances show that beyond analyzing the differences between international superstitions, a successful business in the present age should be aware of the strong cultural effect on its employees or partners.