Small business owners can’t clock off even when they are on holiday or should be asleep, research finds
Most owners of small businesses have mastered technology but, because of this, now find it increasingly difficult to stop work intruding on their personal lives, according to a survey conducted by insurance firm Hiscox.
The study found that 89 percent of those questioned felt they had mastered the use of technology in their business but 38 percent of respondents admitted working when they should be “off duty”.
The online survey, conducted by Opinium, interviewed 1,030 business leaders and found that small business owners are working even when they shouldn’t be with 64 percent having made or received work-related communications when it may not be appropriate, such as in the cinema, at a museum, or on a quiet rail carriage.
It also found that 74 percent feel they don’t have to hide the fact they’re working when they shouldn’t be from those around them, compared to 17 percent who feel they do.
As a result, 37 percent said they found work interfering with their personal lives, compared with 23 percent who did not. The most common way of hiding the fact they were working when they shouldn’t be was to claim to be doing something else (40%), followed by working while others think they are asleep (35%), taking a phone call relating to work but pretending it wasn’t (23%), and claiming to be going somewhere else while actually going to work (19%).
Small business owners are also regularly accused of not being able to relax or wind down (25%), followed by another 24 percent who admitted that if they go for too long without checking their work emails and messages they start to feel anxious. While on holiday, 85 percent of SME owners still check their work emails.
Alan Thomas, small business insurance expert at Hiscox, said, “As SMEs seek to keep their business running at all times, the option to clock off at 5pm is fast diminishing and being ‘switched on’ is becoming a normal way of life.
“Thanks to the reliance on, and access to technology, SMEs have become masters of technology but slaves to their work, and it’s no surprise they are leading a lifestyle where they are ‘always on’,” he added.