1.3 million SME owners will miss family festivities this year

I won’t be home this Christmas

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A quarter (24%) of small business owners in the UK will miss Christmas celebrations this year, due to business and work load commitments. This is according to new research from Ultimate Finance which shines a spotlight on the personal strains that British SMEs are under.

• Nearly 1/4 of UK small business owners have missed Christmas Day celebrations because of business commitments
• Nine out of 10 say that their business has had a negative impact on relationships and family life
• 80% say poor work / life balance has a negative impact on their family relationships
• Nearly a half have missed a special family occasion such as a birthday

Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 99% of all companies in the UK, with 5.4 million SMEs in operation across the country*.

* Source: http://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

Steve Noble, ‎Chief Operating Officer at Ultimate Finance commented:

“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; instead the stresses and strains of running a company is 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.”

Business psychologist Robert Stewart added:

“Taking time out to spend with friends and family is an important part of life. 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 more 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.”

The independent survey, carried out by 3Gem on behalf of SME funding partner Ultimate Finance, questioned hundreds of managing directors, across a range of sectors, about the impact that running their business was having on their lives.

Ultimate Finance conducted the research as part of a bigger SME wellbeing campaign, with the aim of highlighting the need for small business owners to consider their own health, as well as their employees. To help SMEs who need support with their wellbeing, the leading UK funding ally has created an information hub with insight and guidance on a range of business wellbeing topics.

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From our research

73% of UK SME owners admit to feeling lonely.

Three quarters don’t know who to turn to when things get tough.

60% don’t believe there is enough support for UK SMEs looking to expand.

Eastern regions of the UK (East England, East Midlands and North East) are the loneliest for SME, with small business owners feeling as much as 20% more isolated than their peers in the west of the country.

Helpful links

The Federation of Small Business’ (FSB) Wellbeing in Small Business Hub.

Mental health charity Mind’s dedicated Workplace hub

A new independent review of mental health and employers by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health

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