Insurance · 18 December 2017

A quarter of overworked company owners may miss Christmas Day

Christmas working
Roughly 1.3m small business owners could miss Christmas Day

Some 24 per cent of small UK company owners will miss Christmas Day celebrations this year due to business commitments and work load, research has found.

Finding that around 1.3 million owners overall will miss Christmas Day celebrations, research from finance platform Ultimate Finance has revealed the extent of the personal pressure small UK business owners are put under towards the end of the year.

As many as nine out of ten owners admitted that their small business had a negative impact on their personal relationships and family life, whilst 80 per cent claimed that a poor work-life balance – the result of work pressures – had a negative impact on their family.

Almost half of small business owners had missed a special family occasion, like a birthday celebration, because of mounting work pressures, the study found.

“Christmas is an important time of year for many reasons, not least that it is one of the few times when there is potential for the majority of people in Britain to relax with family and friends,” said Steve Noble, ‎Chief Operating Officer at Ultimate Finance.

“This research shows that many small business owners are not getting this opportunity; instead the stresses and strains of running a company is constant.

“This never-ending work pattern can put strains on personal relationships, further isolating those who are not finding the time to take off. It is important that the issue of pressure on [small firms] is addressed as a serious problem.”

Further research has shown that Christmas Day has now become a time when thousands of small business owners chose to submit tax returns online. Christmas Day 2016, for example, saw over 2,000 owners at small firms filed self-assessment tax returns online – a record number – whilst over 5,000 choosing to do so on Boxing Day.

Commenting on the findings, psychologist for business, Robert Stuart, said that owners at small businesses needed to remember how important it was to take time off, especially at Christmas.

He said: “Business leaders often struggle to strike this work-life balance, sometimes feeling guilty about ‘downtime’ despite very much wanting to spend more time with loved ones.

“Not getting that time off can be extremely detrimental, and I welcome this research which shows the true extent of the problem which we can work together as a single business community to tackle.

“Taking time out to spend with friends and family is an important part of life. It can be restorative and help with mental wellbeing.”

Poor Christmas planning means a dry January for one in five business owners

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Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.


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