When the office is resembling a ghost town, it can only mean one thing: the summer holidays are here. However, while many workers are soaking up the sun with their loved ones, a traditional summer getaway is proving elusive for many small-business owners and their families, according to a study from Simply Business, the business insurance provider, and supported by Mind, the mental health charity.
Of the 2,000 small-business owners and sole traders surveyed by Simply Business, 20% said they will not be able to take a single day off over the summer. Given there are an estimated 5.2 million small businesses in the UK, it means over a million small-business owners are having to compromise on their family and social life this summer, with 750,000 expected to miss out on summer holidays with their children. A further 30% said they’d only be able to have a summer holiday if they stayed at home or within the UK in order to keep tabs on their business.
Suffice to say, business owners are struggling to drag themselves away from the office all year round. A quarter of those surveyed admitted that they take less than ten days of annual leave, with almost half saying they cancel plans with family and friends at least once a week. And this is having a worrying impact on business owners’ health, with a quarter of respondents admitting to falling ill due to being overworked or stressed.
Nevertheless, two-thirds of respondents claimed they were happy with their work-life balance, with almost half saying they benefit from fixing their own hours to make them work around family life. Furthermore, thanks to mobile technology, three quarters of those business owners who are parents said they could work unconventional hours to juggle commitments like the school run or making dinner.
“Microbusiness owners and sole traders have to be more than the CEO of their company – they have to play every important role from finance director to chief marketing officer,” said Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business. “The time and effort needed to survive can be punishing so it is all the more important for small-business owners to ensure they balance their work with a social life to prevent getting run down and ultimately putting their business in jeopardy.”
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, added: “Having a good work-life balance, including regularly having time off, is key to staying mentally healthy. Taking proper breaks allows staff to return refreshed and revived and small business owners are no exception.”
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