This Christmas season, business owners might not be getting the break they are hoping for, as nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of UK businesses experience the same or increased levels of demand during the festive period, according to new research commissioned by freelancing website Upwork.
The benefits to be gained from being open for business over the Christmas season are significant; more than one-third (36 per cent) of businesses predict they could earn up to 50 per cent more if they stayed open during the holidays.
However, business owners face the challenge of how to meet demand during the traditional holiday period when most staff take time away from the office. In fact, more than one fifth (21 per cent) of businesses suffer as there is less staff to get work done, and they cannot meet the demand.
In an effort to capitalise on the revenue opportunity available, 95 per cent of business owners will work in some capacity between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This often involves taking on tasks outside of their traditional responsibilities such as customer service (44 per cent) and administrative tasks such as scheduling (70 per cent). For 29 per cent of owners, work involves checking and replying to emails on their phone but another 13 per cent will physically go into the office.
As a result, not only are UK bosses foregoing time away from the office but 37 per cent miss out on festive family fun such as parties; traveling; spending time with loved ones; and children’s nativity plays or school parties.
Upwork SVP Rich Pearson says, ‘Coping with increased demand during the Christmas season is one of the worst things about owning your own business. With quick, easy access to talent ranging from customer support agents to search engine marketers through freelance websites like Upwork, business owners are no longer forced to choose between putting work first or leaving money on the table.’