Small business bosses can't switch off

Dec 16 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Almost one in ten small business bosses expect to be working on Christmas Day this year, a figure likely to increase as they get snowed under in the run-up to the end of the year.

A survey of more than 400 SMEs carried out by Powergen suggests that many of the UKís 3.79 million SMEs never stop working Ė not even on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Yearís Day.

But more than one in ten SME bosses also admit that they use work as an excuse not to have to see relatives at Christmas.

The results reveal a sober Christmas for many small business bosses, with 15 percent saying they have avoided a festive tipple in case they needed to drive to their work premises.

According to the research, male bosses were more than twice as likely to work on Christmas Day as their female counterparts, while Scottish firms are far more likely to close up shop for New Yearís Day than their English counterparts.

Other Christmas working habits for small business bosses include leaving their business mobile phones switched on in case they need to make or receive an all-important call from a fellow workaholic, checking emails or reading the business section of a newspaper or magazine.

More than one in five bosses admit that they have changed their festive plans because of work, and a similar proportion have popped into their work premises to ensure lights were off and alarms set, or used the Christmas period to catch up on paperwork.

Earlier this year, a poll of 500 small business entrepreneurs found that nearly one in three would not be able to take a single day of holiday during the summer and that less than half were able to take a full fortnightís holiday.

Powergenís Neil Gould said: "The UKís SME bosses use enormous amounts of energy running their businesses. The Christmas period is a rare chance for us all to unwind and recharge our batteries.

"For many businesses itís very difficult to stop at Christmas, but others really should take a little time out to renew their energy. Just donít forget to turn off the lights when you leave the building."