Why time off can be just as important as time at work

Running a business is a massive undertaking and it can be easy to let it take over your life. When you are the one in charge, there is always another job that needs to be done as soon as the previous one is finished, always something that requires your attention.

However, as difficult as it might seem, it’s extremely important for people leading their own enterprise to switch off and forget about their business concerns every now and then.

Recent research has provided an insight into just how challenging this is for many people running small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

The Aldermore SME Future Attitudes report revealed that bosses in more than half (52 per cent) of small businesses – the equivalent of some 2.86 million firms – took only five days of holiday or fewer during the whole of 2016.

A fifth (21 per cent) of respondents said they didn’t take any time off, while nearly a third (31 per cent) took only one to five days of annual leave over the course of the year.

One of the ways business leaders could give themselves more peace of mind when taking time off is by planning further in advance. While a third (33 per cent) of SME bosses said they handed over some responsibilities to a colleague before taking annual leave, 35 per cent admitted they only do the handover once they are already away.

A fifth (21 per cent) of respondents said they often end up cancelling some holiday time because they have too much outstanding work to do.

Nearly nine out of ten bosses (85 per cent) continue to take work calls and answer emails when they are on holiday, the survey found, with 24 per cent making themselves available all the time and 29 per cent setting aside time each day to focus on work.

Less than one in six SME leaders (15 per cent) said they treat holidays as a time of total relaxation during which they ignore the demands of their business.

Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said small business owners are “clearly passionate about what they do” so it’s not surprising that they find it difficult to leave work behind.

“We also know that in this modern day and age it can be a challenge to totally switch off from work as technology has made it so much easier to stay in touch,” he added.

“It is, however, worrying that so many business leaders do not take their annual leave entitlement. Their entrepreneurial spirit and hard work is vital to the success of not only their own business but also the wider UK economy. It is crucial they take proper breaks to achieve a good work-life balance and avoid burnout. Enjoying well-earned time off to recharge their batteries could bring a fresh perspective to their business thinking.”

Businesspeople who want to take a flexible, agile approach to running their enterprise could consider the option of a short-term office lease, which offers the benefits of a designated, professional workspace without any long-term commitments.


Posted by Emma Beard

Image courtesy of iStock/kwanchaichaiudom


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