Small business owners plan to work through their holiday

Three quarters of UK small business owners work throughout their holidays, with almost half spending as much as three hours per day on such tasks, research finds.

Some 15 per cent will spend more than half a day working, while 17 per cent take no time off at all, according to a study by OnePoll on behalf of Xero.

Xero managing director Gary Turner says, ‘As Christmas approaches, small business owners, like anyone else, deserve a break. But these results highlight that even during a time like the festive season, it isn’t possible for most of them to switch off altogether.’

Asked what they hoped to achieve in the next two years and how they balance their commitments with life away from work, there are clear distinctions between the different generations of entrepreneurs.

Older business owners are focused squarely on their bottom line, with 71 per cent of those aged 45-54 aiming to boost profit, compared to just 35 per cent in the 18-24 age group.

Meanwhile, the results hint that younger entrepreneurs likely have a better grip when it comes to juggling priorities, with just 17 per cent of 18-24s and 10 per cent of 25-34s feeling like they need to improve their work-life balance, compared with 39 per cent of 45-54s and 42 per cent of over 55s.

Turner adds, ‘Annual leave is one of the many employee benefits that small business owners sacrifice, because it could have a detrimental impact on the bottom line.

‘Getting a good work-life balance is very tricky, but it’s really important that we all switch off occasionally. It’s a question of balance: if you’re waiting to board a plane, relaxing with a coffee or stuck in a queue, why not log in and check your emails or accounts? On the other hand, when you’re spending time with the family or headed for the beach or ski slopes, I say leave your work behind.’

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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