Simply Business homepage
  • Business insurance

    • Business Insurance FAQs

    Business insurance covers

  • Support
  • Claims
  • Sign In
Call Us0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Knowledge Centre

Summer burnout? Nearly 1 in 10 small business owners haven’t taken a holiday in 5 years

2-minute read

Sam Bromley

12 August 2019

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

A new survey from Simply Business reveals that almost one in 10 small business owners across the UK haven’t taken a holiday since at least 2014.

With the August bank holiday approaching, the findings point to a real worry that the UK’s self-employed are heading for burnout this summer. Can anything be done to help business owners switch off?

9% of business owners haven’t had a break for five years

We surveyed 500 small- and medium-sized businesses this summer. The aim was to help us understand how the nation’s self-employed balance the pressure of running a business with taking time off.

The results show that they struggle – nearly one in 10 haven’t taken a holiday in five years. Applying this figure to the UK’s 5.7 million small- and medium-sized businesses, there could be over 513,000 business owners who haven’t taken any rest and relaxation in half a decade.

Small- and medium-sized businesses make up 99 per cent of all UK businesses. Not only does struggling to switch off harm business owners’ physical and mental health, it could also cause serious problems for the economy further down the line.

Money worries prevent business owners from going away

It’s not just that business owners are too busy for time off – there are multiple barriers preventing them from taking a break:

  • three in five (62 per cent) told us that potential loss of earnings is the main issue that prevents them from taking time off of work
  • over a third (35 per cent) estimated that taking a holiday costs them at least £2,500 in lost earnings
  • nearly one in ten (8 per cent) estimate they’re losing out on a whopping £5,000 or more for every holiday they take
  • and nearly one in five (19 per cent) also admit to finding holidays stressful because they’re not bringing in any money

The self-employed find it difficult to switch off

The self-employed choose this way of life to be their own boss and direct their own workload, which likely contributes to an inability to switch off – for better or worse.

Our survey reveals that even when small business owners do get to go away, they find it difficult to stop thinking about how their business is doing back home.

A whopping 61 per cent told us they check emails on holiday, while 51 per cent book jobs so they’ve got work when they get back.

And over one in 10 (11 per cent) said that they’re regularly contacted by employees while they’re away, making it impossible to relax.

Some even said that last minute work has forced them to cancel or move an entire holiday.

How to avoid burning out

With small business owners admitting that they struggle to focus and feel stressed after poor-quality time off, we want to help redress the balance. Here are our tips:

  • if you’re worrying about losing out on profits, adjusting your pricing to take into account time off is worth considering
  • depending on the type of business you run, letting your customers or clients know well in advance when you’ll be off – both on your premises and via your website or social media – will help them plan ahead
  • if stopping work over the August bank holiday isn’t a possibility, look at taking time off another day to make up for the shortfall in downtime

How do you avoid burning out? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.

Start your quote

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter


Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub


Public liability insuranceBusiness insuranceProfessional indemnity insuranceEmployers liability insuranceLandlord insuranceTradesman insuranceCharity insuranceRestaurant insuranceCommercial van insuranceInsurers


About usOur teamAwardsPress releasesPartners & affiliatesOur charitable workModern Slavery ActSocial mediaSite map

Customer support

Contact & supportPolicy renewalMake a claimProof of policyComplaintsAccessibility


6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ


Careers at Simply BusinessTech careersCurrent opportunities


BenefitsRefer a friendFinance


Terms & conditionsPrivacy policyCookie policyVuln Disclosure policy


Knowledge centreOpinionsMicrosites

© Copyright 2022 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.