Insurance · 20 July 2015

Business owners aren’t taking holidays because they’re swamped with admin

Business owners don’t feel they have time for holidays

Payment processing company Worldpay had found that 70 per cent of business owners felt they don’t have a good enough work-life balance to take holiday. One in five small firm owners said they hadn’t had more than a week off in at least three years, while a few days leave is considered out of bounds for one in ten – unless absolutely crucial.

It’s well-known that the early stages of starting a business are a drain on both time and resources for entrepreneurs and Worldpay’s research confirmed that the reality of juggling the day job with everything from finance to HR to chasing customers for payment can quickly become overwhelming.

This has meant the work-life balance is the first casualty, with the average small business owner bogged down with the equivalent of 48 days a year spent on admin tasks. Of the 500 business owners surveyed, more than 40 per cent averages six or seven day weeks to stay afloat.

The biggest problems for small firms were finance, cash flow and paperwork.

Dave Hobday, UK managing director for Worldpay, said: “Small business owners need a holiday more than most, but worries about sales, cashflow and customer loyalty mean they often spend summer on the shop floor instead of the sun lounger.”

It also seems that a lack of digital nous could be part of the problem, with one in five small business owners using nothing more than a pen and paper to run their business.

The work-life conundrum has been a challenge for larger firms too, with some opting to overlap the two and provide an improved environment at work.

Research company Gartner found that in 2013, 2,000 companies offered employees fitness trackers, and by 2014 this was at 10,000.

BP’s North American business offers its staff Fitbit fitness trackers, with 24,500 distributed in 2015 and staff can earn discounts on their health insurance premiums through activity points.

It’s not such a workable option for those still getting a business off the ground though. Hobday said that while “operational tasks are a fact of life”, small businesses shouldn’t be drowning in them.

“Business owners need to find ways to take back control of their information to become more efficient, make smarter decisions and get that well-earned break.”

Scheduling a day around when you work most efficiently could prove a way to improve productivity as well as reducing stress, while Hobday advises researching what online tools exist that can help reduce the amount of admin tasks.

Image: Shutterstock

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

Work and Wellbeing