Tax & admin · 18 July 2018

7 reasons why sole traders haven’t taken a day’s holiday in the last year

One in four sole traders feared their business would lose income in they were on holiday

A third of Britain’s sole traders have not taken a day of annual leave in the past 12 months, new research has revealed.

According to a study from Direct Line for Business, almost one and a half million sole traders across the UK felt unable to leave their company for even a single day over the last year.

The most common reason for working throughout the year was the fear of losing critical sales and revenue by missing work.

The findings confirmed that the smaller the enterprise, the less likely its owner was to take any days off. While a third of sole traders worked all year round, only one in eight decision makers at larger SMEs failed to take a day off.

As Britain’s heat wave continues into its second month, 16% of all small business leaders said they would not take any time off this summer due to work commitments.

Direct Line for Business rounded up the seven most common reasons why small and micro business owners are unable to take annual leave.

Issue Percentage of business owners who feel this way
My business would lose income if I were to go on holiday for too long 26%
I find it hard to “switch off” from work while I am on holiday 22%
I feel that my business would struggle in my absence when I go on holiday 17%
I often feel guilty taking days off 17%
I feel I am unable to spend as much time with my friends and family due to my work commitments 14%
Senior management in SMEs have a responsibility for their business and should not take extended periods of leave 13%
My business has experienced a critical issue whilst I have been on holiday 8%

 

Commenting on the findings, Matt Boatwright, head of Direct Line for Business, said the nature of entrepreneurship meant time off was even more vital.

“Running a small business can be a stressful job, which is why it is even more important that proprietors afford themselves a holiday,” he said.

“Our research shows that there are millions of business owners who feel that they cannot leave their business to go on annual leave, but they should be reassured that of all the businesses surveyed, only a small percentage actually experience any business-critical issues while away.”

“Ultimately, nothing is more important than the health of a business owner, so taking a holiday not only allows them to take some much-needed time off to relax but also prevents burnout and subsequent business issues further down the line. While their business may never be too far from their mind, whether they’re in Margate or Marbella, there are steps they can take to alleviate worry, and taking out comprehensive small business insurance is one way of allowing you to put your feet up and take it easy.”

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holiday

 

How to take a holiday without feeling like you’re neglecting your business

Emily Coltman, chief accountant at cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent, gives four tips that should help you take a guilt-free break.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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