Small business owners are being told to ‘take a break’ after new research shows that some haven’t had a holiday in five years.
According to a new survey from Simply Business, one in 10 owners of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) haven’t taken a holiday since 2014, a reality that could lead to burnout and wider disruptions to the UK economy.
Of the 500 small- and medium-sized business owners polled, 9% (equivalent to more than half a million individuals) have not had a break from work in five years.
The purpose of the survey was to gain an understanding of how small business owners manage to balance the pressure associated with running a business and taking time off. Unfortunately, the results reveal that many don’t.
Time pressures and money concerns are the two main factors why small business owners are reluctant to take time off. Indeed, 62% of respondents said a potential loss of earnings is the main reason why they haven’t had a break from work for so long. In fact, over a third (35%) said that taking a holiday costs them at least £2,500 in lost earnings.
Other small business owners put the figure much higher, with nearly one in ten (8%) saying they lose out on £5,000 or more each time they take a holiday, while nearly one in five (19%) said holidays were stressful because they are constantly thinking about the potential earnings they are missing out on.
Many find it difficult to switch off
Sadly, even when small business owners do get away for a break, many are unable to switch off from work. For example, 61% said they check emails while on holiday and 51% set up jobs for when they are back. Then there is the 11% of small business owners who said they cannot relax while they are away from work on a break because they are regularly contacted by their employees.
Some small business owners even admitted that last-minute jobs had caused them to cancel holiday plans in the past.
According to Simply Business, small businesses make up 99% of all businesses in the UK. The insurer says there are more than 5.7 million SMEs in the UK today, which is why business owners who struggle to switch off are not only putting their own mental health at risk, but could also potentially harm the wider economy further down the line.
Speaking in light of the survey findings, Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business, offered some suggestions for small business owners.
Even a day here and there can “make a big difference when it comes to recharging your batteries”, she said. And when budgeting for the year, “slowly work towards saving up for a holiday”, she added.
One thing I have found out in recent years is if you don’t look after yourself, then who will look after your staff? And if you don’t look after your staff, then how can you expect them to look after your clients?
We need to invest time in ourselves and that includes taking holidays, using annual leave to make sure we do not suffer from burnout.
Tom is the Sales Director for Premier Choice Group. In his role, Tom oversee’s growth across all areas of the business while maintaining a small number of his own clients. At Premier Choice, Tom and the team deliver a unique, personal service to every client, while growing the business and maintaining a strong reputation as the UK’s best intermediary.