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SMEs need a holiday, or risk burning out

In our era of health and safety, mental health and corporate responsibility with regard to duty of care, surprising research by Simply Business shows that UK small-medium sized business (SME) owners are putting themselves at risk of burning out, with some having not taken a holiday in more than half a decade.

21% of those surveyed, who said they couldn't take a holiday because they had no employees

21% of those surveyed, who said they couldn’t take a holiday because they had no employees

The survey spoke to over 500 SMEs, and paints a worrying picture of a nation struggling with the pressures of running a business alongside commitments outside of work. The analysis found that time pressures and money (62%) concerns are the prime reasons why almost one in 10 (9%) of SME owners aren’t taking annual leave.

There are over 5.7 million small or medium-sized businesses in the UK, which makes up 99% of all businesses. Extrapolating the research, it could indicate as many as 513,000 SME owners across the nation haven’t taken a holiday since at least 2014.

The research highlights a concerning trend of UK business owners struggling to switch off, which could lead to mental and physical health issues, and ultimately dent UK productivity – in direct contravention to industry-wide advice and research surrounding fleet drivers and mental health. This is particularly important for one-man-companies that drive for a living, of which accounted for 21% of those surveyed, who said they couldn’t take a holiday because they had no employees.

52% of business owners admitted they are reluctant to go on holiday, as they worry about missing out on work, while 10% are concerned their employees won’t carry out work effectively while they’re away. While on holiday, 8% worry about the business back home and can’t switch off, and 35% only feel ‘slightly refreshed’ when returning home as a result of them still having to work while away.

Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business commented, “SMEs are the backbone of Britain – accounting for 99% of all UK business, and contributing a combined £2tn in annual turnover. This makes the findings of our recent research all the more concerning. If self-employed people reach burnout, it has the potential to have a real impact on the wider UK economy.”

Following the news, Simply Business is offering a small business owner the chance to win £1,000 of holiday vouchers to take themselves on holiday. To enter, visit: https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/campaign/summer-burnout/ Entries close on the 31 August 2019.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.