Small business owners are sacrificing their physical and mental health

Wellbeing SMESmall business owners are working thirteen hours a week more than the UK average, negatively impacting the health of nearly a third (28 percent) of them, according to a survey commissioned by business marketplace Bizdaq. According to the Small Business Wellbeing Report, owner /managers typically work an additional 13 hours per week  above the national UK average of 37 hours. Mental health is a particular concern with the reports suggesting that 660,000 owners nationwide are currently experiencing a negative impact on their mental health due to the pressures of running their business. The report also suggests that 566,000 small business owners nationwide have not taken a holiday since they started their business. The report also reveals that there is both a regional and demographic split in attitudes. Perhaps most surprisingly, younger business owners tend to be more optimistic despite current challenges including Brexit.

The research, conducted by Opinium, found that 1.3 million owners are suffering health issues due to the pressures of running their business, with 660,000 of those owners feeling that the business has a negative impact on their mental health. Owners were found to be working an additional 13 hours extra per week (50 hours per week) compared to the UK average (37 hours), with 370,000 owners working 60+ hours a week and as many as 94,000 owners working 80+ hour weeks.

Business ownership was most likely to be a burden in the North of England, with twice as many Northern small business owners (22 percent) responding that their health was negatively impacted than Southern business owners (11 percent). The East Midlands was found to be the most negatively impacted region, with 34 percent of owners saying their health was affected, whilst the South East was the least affected with only 8 percent.

Families are feeling the effect of small business ownership too, with 87 percent of small business owners with children under the age of 18 not planning to take their children on holiday this year. This lack of family time isn’t just felt during the summer break though, as 18 percent of small business owners feel their business negatively affects their family.

The EU Referendum saw a historic leave vote which was vastly criticised by younger voters in particular, however younger small business owners are more confident about a post-Brexit future than any other generation.

Whilst only 20 percent of small business owners are more confident about the future since the referendum, this jumps to 45 percent of 18 – 34-year-old small business owners. This far-exceeds the 13 percent of 35 – 54-year-old business owners and 23 percent of 55+ year old small business owners who are more confident about the future since the referendum.

Sean Mallon, CEO of Bizdaq, said “The fact that so many small business owners are struggling is astonishing and really shows the need for the government to do more to support the backbone of the British economy. Now more than ever, the UK needs strong small businesses.

The abolishment of Business Link and the regional adviser program by the Coalition government in 2010 left a vacuum in small enterprise in the UK. Where small business owners previously felt the benefits of having a local support network, there are currently no services where owners can turn to when looking for support. I would call upon the new small business minister Margot James to prioritise the re-establishment of business support on a local level.”

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