One in 10 SME business owners have not been on holiday in half a decade, reveals survey

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13th August 2019 17:41 - Business Support

One in 10 SME business owners have not been on holiday in half a decade: A survey of SME business owners has revealed that one in 10 (9%) have not escaped the stresses and strains of the office and taken a holiday for as long as half a decade. 

The research by SME insurance company Simply Business found that the top reason given by business owners for not taking time off work was because of the potential loss of earnings - with 62% saying this applied to them. Almost one in five (19%) said that they find holidays stressful because of this, with 35% estimating they lose as much as £2,500 per holiday. For a further 8% the figure is even higher, with estimates closer to £5,000. 

For those who do manage to head off on holiday, the poll of 500 SME bosses revealed it’s not always a case of switching on their Out of Office and kicking back with a cocktail. More than six in 10 said that they regularly check their emails when away, while more than half (51%) continue to book in work ready for when they return. Being contacted by employees whilst their away is another barrier to relaxing, with 11% admitting engaging with staff keeps them from fully switching off. 

Asked about the reasons why they feel unable to go away on holiday, 52% said it was because they were worried about missing out on work, while more than a fifth (21%) said they don’t have the employees to carry out necessary work in their absence. One in ten bosses said they have concerns that staff will not be as productive if they are not there, while 8% said they will just worry about how the business is doing instead of enjoying the break.

Speaking about holidays they have taken, just a third said they came back feeling ‘slightly refreshed’.

Three in ten bosses (30%) admitted their inability to leave their work at the office was a source of frustration to family and friends, with more than a quarter (28%) saying the situation has caused their family members to compain that they put work first. Just less than a fifth (19%) said the frustration around family holidays and work had caused arguments. 

According to Simply Business, SMEs make up 99% of UK businesses (5.7 million of them) and with 9% of SME bosses admitting to not taking a break for five years, that could mean around 500,000 SME owners have not switched off for a holiday since 2014. 

Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at the company, said of the research findings:

"If self-employed people reach burnout, it has the potential to have a real impact on the wider UK economy. Ultimately, their mental and physical health is on the line and productivity isn't going to shoot back up when we have a nation of employers feeling burnt out.”

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