Small business owners increasingly fail to take holidays

By | 01 June 2014
One of the key findings of research undertaken by business software provider Sage was that 31 per cent of small business owners were unable to take a summer holiday in 2012. Alarmingly, this figure is expected to have increased to 36 per cent in 2013.

Owner Managers particularly vulnerable

The increase in the amount of small business owners unable to go on holiday is one of the important findings of a survey taken by 1,000 small business owners.

Owner managers seem to be particularly vulnerable to the phenomenon of never being able to ‘switch off’; it being seen as difficult to spend time away from a business that relies heavily on their input. This phenomenon has been aggravated in the aftermath of the financial crisis and consequent recessions.

The costs and benefits of all work and no rest

There are costs to this increasingly work-centric lifestyle, however. Jonny Gillford of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is convinced that failing to take time off is counter-productive: “It’s important to realise that a healthy business requires a healthy leader. If you’re not taking proper care of yourself, and that includes taking a break, you’re also not taking proper care of your business.”

This echoes conventional wisdom in that if you are worn down the business can suffer. Anxiety also follows more easily from fatigued states, which can result in rushed or ill-thought out decision making.

Therefore, the advice to small business owners should be to treat their own health as a very real factor contributing to the success of the business.

A healthy lifestyle for a healthy business

In addition, research has shown that being under constant pressure to achieve and perform floods our brains with specific hormones which erode the higher functions of creativity and innovation.

Indeed, it’s not just that chronic unbroken stress raises blood pressure and heightens the risk of depression; it’s that choosing to take that annual summer holiday away from the business could actually be the more productive lifestyle.

As a business owner, the continual pressures of bringing success to your enterprise might seem to require constant attention. But it might just be in your business’s best interests, at least for a few weeks a year, to forget about it and relax.

Planning, structure and control  

Taking time off requires a business owner to plan ahead and structure their businesses so that it can operate effectively if they are not there. By putting the right mechanisms in place, even owner managed businesses can ensure that their business will survive and prosper in their absence.

Furthermore, it is better to implement changes now rather than find your business struggling if you are forced to take time off through ill health or other unexpected problems.

Hillier Hopkins has helped many small business owners restructure their businesses and regain their personal flexibility. For help and advice contact hi@hhllp.co.uk today for or call 0330 024 3200 now and speak to one of our experts.

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