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Will it be a Happy Christmas for the UK’s entrepreneurs and small business owners? Not particularly – more like business as usual for many according to research suggesting the majority will simply work through the festive season.
Almost nine in 10 small business owners in the UK – 88 per cent – anticipate they’ll be doing at least some work over the Christmas break according to research from Vistaprint, a marketing services company that works with many small and medium-sized enterprises. Some 53 per cent of the businesses it surveyed said they intended to work on Christmas Day. In some cases, that means keeping an eye on emails for anything urgent, while others expect to work a normal day; either way, entrepreneurs feel unable to switch off completely.
Even those taking Christmas Day off don’t expect to enjoy an extended holiday or to take advantage of the remaining bank holidays over Christmas. Two-thirds will back in the office on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Many small business owners in the research complained they felt they had no choice but to work through Christmas. Many said they would be busy fulfilling customer orders and ensuring deliveries arrived on time; others said the holiday period was the one time of year in which they were free to focus on business planning and management, such as solving cash flow problems or considering investment. Small businesses are also concerned about how they can differentiate themselves from competitors, fearing their messages will be lost in the noise of Christmas.
Simon Braier, director of customer strategy at Vistaprint, warned entrepreneurs not to risk burn-out by over-working and pointed to the long-term value of taking time off.
“Small business owners put their hearts and souls into their businesses and naturally at key times of the year this pressure increases,” Braier said.
“But Christmas is also an important time for family, and we’d like to encourage small business owners whenever possible to take a well-deserved rest during this period. Returning to their business after spending some quality time with their family can help business owners bring fresh ideas and a renewed sense of drive to their work, ensuring a strong start to the new year.”
Vistaprint’s findings mirror the conclusions of other research into the working habits of entrepreneurs and small business owners, who appear to be putting in ever more hours in order to cope with the demands of running their enterprises in tough marketing environment. There is mounting concern about levels of stress and the increasing numbers of entrepreneurs developing mental health problems.
Research published in October by the accountant Haines Watts found that 73 per cent of small business owners had never taken more a week off from their work. It warned th
at three-quarters of entrepreneurs felt owning a small business was having a negative impact on their mental health.
Elsewhere, the Federation of Small Business has warned that small business owners are routinely working an average of 13 hours more each week than the UK average. Entrepreneurs are routinely neglecting both their physical and mental wellbeing, the FSB has warned.
December 21, 2018 at 06:12AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs