Small business owners are overworked and struggle to take a break

A poll from software firm FreeAgent, published to tie in with National Work Life Week, claims that many self-employed people in the UK are working excessively long hours without taking any holidays. In the poll of more than 500 freelancers and micro-business owners, nearly a third of respondents (30 percent) said they worked more than 48 hours per week on their business, while 5 percent admitted that they spent more than 64 hours each week working.  A separate poll carried out earlier this year by the same firm claimed that more than a third (38 percent) of respondents said they had not felt able to take a week or more’s worth of holiday in the previous six months.

However, the company also discovered that, despite the long hours and lack of holidays, many micro-business owners are content with their working life – with 74 percent saying that they felt they had a good work-life balance.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Many people start their own business because they see it as an exciting opportunity to escape the 9-to-5 life and be their own boss. But although those who have taken the plunge generally say that running a small business gives them a good work-life balance, it’s important to remember that self-employment can be very hard and challenging. Although many freelancers and micro-business owners enjoy more flexibility over when and where they can work, our research shows that they are actually likely to work just as many hours as people who are not self-employed – and sometimes a lot more.”

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