Simply Business research reveals over 1 million hard-working small business owners compromise family and social life due to work pressures.
Simply Business, ranked the Best Company to Work For in the UK by the Sunday Times this year, has delved into the wellbeing of its 300,000 small business customers to unveil some startling truths about the work/life balance of the nation’s microbusiness owners and sole traders.
While most of the country will be taking advantage of the summer to enjoy time off with their friends and family the Simply Business work/life study found a fifth can’t afford to take a single day off work this summer. A further 30 per cent will only be able to have a summer holiday if they stay at home or within the UK in order to keep tabs on their business. As 72 per cent of those surveyed are parents, this means school holidays don’t result in traditional family summer breaks for three-quarters of a million small business owners.
Despite a statutory right to 20 days holiday each year, many self-employed workers get nowhere near that number with a quarter of those surveyed admitting they take less than 10 days annual leave, even when accounting for bank holidays.
Some other worrying trends identified in the survey include a lack of a social life and an impact on their health:
Almost half cancel plans with friends and family at least once a week because of work
Over half a million small business owners just do not make any social plans purely because they know they are too busy with work to commit to them
A quarter of those surveyed admitted to falling ill due to being overworked and stressed
Despite these figures two thirds said they were happy with their work/life balance.
Flexibility around family
While the pressures of running your own business has its downsides to time spent away from work, with business administration (taxes and payroll) being a popular task outside of regular working hours, Simply Business found that almost half of microbusiness owners benefit from fixing their own hours to make it work around family life.
Today, mobile devices allow small business owners to be accessible and able to work at any time. This means that the three quarters who are parents can work unconventional hours to juggle commitments like the school run to making dinner and Simply Business found the majority of all small business owners agree technology has been a help to their work/life balance.
Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business, comments: “The concept of the work-life balance is increasingly redundant. There is life, and we need to make it work for everyone. We don’t clock in and out of the factory anymore - and the self-employed have been at the vanguard of that change, yet they’re not getting the support they need.
“Setting up and running a business demands a huge commitment that many employees would never want to take. It requires more than your expert knowledge and skill in your field and unending perseverance to get your business off the ground.
“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. The time and effort needed to survive can be punishing, so it’s 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.”
Simply Business’ study amongst small business owners is supported by Mind, the national mental health charity.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “Too many small business owners are failing to make enough time for their lives outside work, often sacrificing holidays and social activities with family and friends. 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.
“Every business owner wants to ensure their business is a success and this can mean putting in the extra hours from time to time. But consistently working long hours and managing an excessive workload can take their toll on our physical and mental health, with the potential to negatively affect business performance. Staff who look after their mental wellbeing are more productive, have higher morale and are less likely to need time off sick. So it’s in the interests of all small business owners, and employees more generally, to ensure that they give as much priority to their personal life as they do their jobs.”
The Simply Business work-life balance quiz can be found here along with a number of advice articles on the subject.
For further information, please contact:
Nithiya Gnanathas/ Arthur Trousdell
020 7199 6196/ 020 7199 2203
About Simply Business
Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.
Simply Business provides insurance to more than 400,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company to Work For.