UK SME owners preparing to work this Christmas Eve

SME employers are expecting to work over Christmas Eve and over the season, even if they won't be sat in the office, a new study reveals.

Zurich’s latest SME Risk Index reveals that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of Britain’s SME owners and decision makers think they will have to work on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year, and even 7 per cent are counting on having to work on Christmas Day.

Zurich’s latest data shows that, even for those who will not have to work on Christmas day, many will be completing work-related tasks. Staggeringly, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of small and medium sized business owners will be checking or sending work emails over the course of the day, while more than one in seven (15 per cent) will be using a work device to carry out other work-related tasks.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of small to medium-sized business owners admit that they will be missing out on at least one festive event this Christmas Eve due to work commitments. Nearly one in seven (13 per cent) will be missing a family get-together, while one in ten (ten per cent) will not be available to help put up the Christmas tree. Almost one in 15 (seven per cent) will not be attending their own office Christmas party.

Work commitments will cause small business owners to miss all-important family time this Christmas, too. One in twenty (five per cent) has confessed that they will not be putting stockings out for their children this year, and a further one in twenty (five per cent) admits they will be too busy to attend their own children’s nativity play.

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Results from this year’s survey of over 1,000 SMEs are no anomaly. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) SME owners stated in this survey more than 12 months ago that they have had to go into work on Christmas Day in the past, while nearly a third (32 per cent) have sacrificed time on Christmas Day to check and send work emails.

Anne Griffiths, head of SME proposition at Zurich, says, ‘It will come as no surprise to SMEs that despite commonly held views about the lifestyle benefits of working for yourself, the reality can be very different. Missing big events such as your child’s nativity play is a high price to pay and shows the pressure many SMEs are under.

‘As we look forward to taking some rest over the season after Christmas Eve, it seems that uncertainty in the business environment is driving many of the UK’s small business owners to carry on working. We hope that everyone gets a chance to enjoy the holidays and as ever we offer our support to ensure their businesses run as smoothly as possible during the festive season.’

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