Are you looking forward to Christmas? We hope so. It should be a time of year for relaxing and enjoying some downtime, dinner and drinks with all your favourite friends and family. But for far too many of us, work commitments and concerns are too all-encompassing, and it can be tough to let go over the festive period. In fact, a surprisingly high amount of SME owners will miss most of the Christmas celebrations entirely because of work.
That’s according to business finance company Ultimate Finance, anyway. Recent research commissioned by them suggests that almost a quarter of small business owners in the UK, some 24%, will miss Christmas Day festivities due to work commitments. There are almost 5.5 million SMEs in Britain, with them accounting for over 99% of all businesses here in this country. So we are talking about a lot of people suffering due to business worries and workload.
The survey goes on to report that nine out of every ten people running their small-medium-sized enterprise in Britain today have felt that their work has had a negative impact on their personal life. And 80% say that they have an almost permanently disagreeable work-life balance.
It’s not just Christmas that sees people suffering, either. Of those asked, over half of SME owners reported having missed essential family get-togethers such as birthday parties or anniversaries.
Business psychologist Robert Stewart was asked about this surprising festive issue... “Taking time out to spend with friends and family is an important part of life," he says. "It can be restorative and help with mental wellbeing. I find that business leaders often struggle to strike this work/life balance, sometimes feeling guilty about ‘downtime’ despite very much wanting to spend 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.”
Steve Noble is the Chief Operating Officer over at Ultimate Finance. He says this about the staggering amount of SME owners that will be sacrificing their Christmas for their business:
“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. This is particularly important for SMEs who often work extremely long and lonely hours."
“Our research shows that many small business owners are not getting this opportunity," Noble continues. "Instead the stresses and strains of running a company are 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 SMEs is addressed as a serious problem.”
The survey was carried out by 3Gem on behalf of Ultimate Finance and saw them quiz hundreds of different managing directors from across a wealth of various sectors and industries. The results were stark and more than a little depressing.
The survey is part of a wider ‘wellbeing’ report that the Tavistock Group-backed Ultimate Finance are producing and it demonstrates just how big an impact a struggling business can have on a person’s private life.
We hope you can enjoy Christmas year. But if your finances are causing your concern, don't stress over the holiday period - get in touch and see how we can help?