Tired bosses losing sleep over stress

Feb 18 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Business leaders and entrepreneurs are working excessively long hours and loosing sleep due to work-related stress, new research has claimed.

A survey of 870 senior UK business figures by accountants Grant Thorton found that two-thirds work between nine and 11 hours a day,

Around one in ten worked a six day week with one in six saying they frequently worked at weekends. A mere four per cent worked four days or less.

And despite one in four firms offering flexible working, the survey found that this had no impact on the number of hours worked by business leaders.

Just over half of those surveyed said that they suffering from work-related stress, largely due to 'having too much to do in too little time'. Other causes included a lack of leadership and personality clashes.

"The survey was carried out among senior business people so it is not surprising to see high levels of commitment," said Grant Thornton's Paul Andrews. "However, the frequency of weekend working and the fact that 10% work a six day week is concerning if people are not achieving the right work/life balance."

Things are no easier for smaller entrepreneurs. A separate survey by Bibby Financial Services found that almost four out of ten business owners had trouble sleeping and that nearly a quarter said that the stress of running their business had led to illness.

Nearly half of those questioned said that they take out their frustrations on friends or family and have "grave concerns" about the negative impact that their stress levels were having on family life.

Maintaining cash flow was the biggest worry for these entrepreneurs, with a quarter blaming financial worries for sleepless nights.

Just over one in five said that personnel issues and problems with suppliers and customers were what got them stressed. Work-life balance (or rather the lack of it) is an issue for 18 per cent.

David Robertson, chief executive of Bibby, said that being the boss isn't easy with all the pressure that comes with the job.

"The fact that smaller businesses have fewer members of staff with often higher levels of responsibility, fewer resources, tighter margins and less room for manoeuvre when it comes to making mistakes, can all add to the tremendous pressure that owners and managers are under," he said.