No Christmas break for one in five small business owners

Anyone who has set up their own business knows how much work has to be put in – even over Christmas. A new survey by Simply Business has found that 20 per cent of UK business owners didn’t even take a break on Christmas Day.

And even if they did have the big day off, almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of small business owners still continued to work over the Christmas period (24 December-2 January), with as many as one in 10 (12 per cent) taking no days off at all.

Four per cent of small businesses owners were even physically in the office on Christmas Day.

90 per cent of small businesses have no one to cover over the holidays

Of those who didn’t take time off at Christmas, only 12 per cent said their family shifted celebrations to allow them to take part, while five per cent said they worked to allow their staff to take time off.

However, the overwhelming majority of respondents who worked this Christmas did so because they’re sole traders and have no one else to manage their business, and 44 per cent said they couldn’t afford to miss out on the potential loss of business.

Christmas, it seems, is no different to the rest of the year, with 32 per cent of those surveyed saying they hadn’t taken a single day off this year.

Younger business owners are twice as likely to work over Christmas

Millennials often get a bad rap for not working particularly hard, but business owners under the age of 25 are twice as likely not to take any days off over the festive period than their counterparts over 55.

As younger business owners are far more likely to be in the first few years of running a business, the data suggests more support is needed for business owners who’re just getting started.

Age range % taking no leave this Christmas
Under 25 17
25 - 35 12
35 - 45 11
45 - 50 12
Over 55 9

Northern business owners have a more relaxed Christmas

Breaking it down by region, small business owners in the north of England were the least likely to take no holiday this Christmas, with Yorkshire the most relaxed region in the country.

Only four per cent of small business owners in the Yorkshire and Humber area worked every single day of the festive period.

However, if you go even further north, Scottish business owners are on par with London and the south.

13 per cent worked on both Christmas and New Years. East Anglia comes out as the region most likely to work every day between 24 December and 2 January, while none of the business owners surveyed from Northern Ireland worked the whole period.

Region % taking no leave this Christmas
Scotland 13
North West 8
North East 8
Yorkshire and Humber 4
Northern Ireland 0
West Midlands 13
East Midlands 12
East Anglia 16
Wales 9
London 13
South West 13
South East 12

Were you working over the festive period? Let us know in the comments below.

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