Work life balance remains greatest challenge for owners of growing businesses

A new survey from Vistage claims that work-life balance is the biggest challenge facing what it refers to as scaleup business leaders in the UK. Defined as a business with an average annualised return of at least 20 percent in the last three years – and with a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the period – scaleup businesses are seen as key to the success of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy. Of the 2,800 respondents who took part in the poll, Vistage found a whopping 46 percent believe juggling a healthy home life with the demands of work is the biggest challenge owners of fast-growing businesses face. Access to talent came in a distant second with 22 percent of the vote, while sustaining momentum ranked third.

Commenting on the findings, Vistage International General Manager Geoff Lawrence said: “As a startup business owner, leaders are often cast in the role of ‘chief everything officer.’ Everyone reports to you, everything lands on your desk, and you have a hand in almost every decision. That’s fine when you only have a few staff to deal with, but as the business scales, it becomes impossible to be everywhere all the time. You have to learn to step back, let go and focus on ensuring you have the right people in place to share the burden. Not everyone can handle that transition and very few can do it alone.”

The findings echo results of similar research conducted by Vistage as part of its quarterly SME Confidence Index, where 40 percent of business leaders admitted the demands of work have been a cause of stress in their personal lives. And while a quarter of business leaders say they’ve sought outside help to strike a better balance between their work and personal life, many more are choosing to suffer on in silence while their health and relationships suffer.

Geoff continues, “Running your own business is hard work, but if it’s taking precedence over your health and well-being, chances are that something has gone badly wrong in the way your business is structured. Elon Musk and others like him might have made the idea of the 100-hour work week fashionable, but that level of intensity just isn’t sustainable.”