- Small business owners are taking less holiday than last year, and less than their counterparts at bigger businesses.
- We give some tips on how you can take a well-earned break from your business whilst ensuring everything runs smoothly in your absence.
For many small and medium-sized business owners, it seems like there is never a good time to take a break.
The latest SME Risk Index from Zurich Insurance found that three-quarters of SME owners took fewer than 25 days of holiday last year, with a third taking fewer than 15 days off. And while 71% of SME owners took a holiday lasting at least five working days last year, only 43% have booked to do the same over the next 12 months.
Perhaps the most revealing finding from the survey of 1,000 UK SME owners was that nearly one in ten took no holiday at all last year. In comparison, a survey of nearly 300 key decision makers at larger businesses found that only 2% took no leave, and just 57% took fewer than 25 days’ leave.
Why do small business owners struggle to take holiday?
Nearly half of SME owners said that if they took more holiday, they believe their business would be negatively affected, compared with just over one quarter (27%) of decision makers at large businesses.
Any small business owner reading this will understand this concern. When deciding whether or not to take a holiday, you’ll be faced with many questions, such as:
- Can I delegate key responsibilities safely?
- Who should I put in charge whilst I’m away?
- Will my staff look after the customers and respond to their enquiries?
- Will we lose business if they are not?
- Will our suppliers be paid on time?
- How would my staff respond to a major loss or catastrophe whilst I’m away?
Taking a break
Other small business owners may choose to take regular short breaks, rather than holidaying for a week or two at a time.
This flexibility is one of the advantages some SME owners have, and is reflected in the Zurich findings. Only 56% of SME owners work more than 40 hours a week, compared to 73% of decision makers at larger organisations. One quarter (24%) of SME owners are able to work fewer than 35 hours a week.
Anne Griffiths, Head of SME Propositions at Zurich, says: “While the common perception that working for yourself provides day-to-day flexibility appears to ring true, it is undeniable that running your own business is a balancing act.
“Employees at larger businesses are reporting the freedom to take more holiday without affecting business operations, where smaller businesses are really feeling the strain in holiday season.
“The sheer responsibility of owning a business is clearly weighing heavy on business owners’ shoulders. It is imperative that small business owners are making use of all the support available to them to ensure their businesses are healthy and stable enough to let them take some well-deserved time off.”
How to ease the strain if you own a business
Research suggests one third of SMEs are planning to recruit new staff. However, even as small and medium-sized businesses expand, they need support to cope with the challenges they face.
It’s important you do take annual leave, and not just for health and wellbeing. Handing over the reins for a week or two can empower your staff, showing them that they are trusted to take important decisions.
Before going on holiday, here are some useful tips to ensure your business operations continue to run smoothly in your absence.
Some SMEs are so small that when the owner or a key employee takes time off, it can be difficult for the remaining staff to cope.
How your insurance broker can help
- Greenfield Insurance Services offer a range of business insurance covers to suit every type and size of business. We will make sure you’ve got the right cover for your type of business operation with the correct sum insured.
- We will ensure you have the correct cover in place to account for mishaps or disasters at your business whilst you are away.
- Should a claim situation arise whilst you are away, we will deal with it on your behalf and visit your business premises if necessary.