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A third of sole traders failed to take a day off in the past year

Written by Yoana Cholteeva on Thursday, 19 July 2018. Posted in HR, People

Nearly 1.5 million solo business owners across the UK took zero days annual leave over the past 12 months, with profit seemingly the priority over holidays, according to a new research from Direct Line for Business.

A third of sole traders failed to take a day off in the past year

Sunny summer days might be the ultimate time to get away for the majority of the nation’s workers but apparently, business owners tend to refrain from such indulgences. 

Indeed, 33% of sole traders said they didn’t take a day off over the past year, followed by 18% of micro-business owners with under ten workers and 16% for SME decision-makers, according to a study from Direct Line for Business, the small business insurance provider.

Seemingly their unwillingness to take some well-deserved time away from work was tied to leaders’ inability to detach from their enterprises and fears the business would miss out on money if they took any days off.

22% of survey respondents admitted they find it hard to switch off from work even during a holiday, while a further 26% claimed that they would lose income if were to go on a vacation for too long. Alarmingly, 17% said they feel guilty for taking time off. Elsewhere, many SME decision-makers even calculate the cost of their holiday, assuming that every day of leave costs the business £622.50 in revenue.

However, the statistics aren’t too dark. A quarter of SME owners revealed the number of days off they could take annually had increased over the past five years, ahead of the 17% who experienced a decrease.

Commenting on the research, Matt Boatwright, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “Our research shows that there are millions of business owners who feel that they cannot leave their business to go on annual leave but they should be reassured that of all the businesses surveyed, only a small percentage actually experience any business-critical issues while away.”

Boatwright added that nothing is more essential than a business leaders health, something they can recharge with a holiday, which will help counteract any risk of burnout or stress.

So there you have it. No matter if you’re closely attached to your growing business or are fiercely ambitious, the sun is up so delegate some work, put your flip-flops on and allow yourself a few days of fun and relaxation. It will definitely freshen up your perspective. 

About the Author

Yoana Cholteeva

Yoana Cholteeva

With a pure interest in business and entrepreneurship, Yoana has recently joined the Elite team for another challenge. Out of work, a keen traveller, explorer, and a huge fan of art, she is striving to broaden her ideological horizons while indulging into her passion for storytelling.


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