MORE than a quarter of SME bosses across the UK say that they are in constant contact with the office while on holiday, according to a recent survey.

A further 23% say that they are in touch with work at least once a day while on annual leave, while 28% check emails but don’t make contact with the office unless it’s urgent.

The figures are drawn from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and managers from a range of sectors across the UK.

Mike Randall
Mike Randall

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “It’s understandable that leaving work behind can be particularly difficult when you’re responsible for running a small business as there might not be anyone else to pick up tasks while you’re away.

“While more than two thirds of small and medium sized business owners told us that they believe that taking a break from work can give their business a boost, in reality almost 40% of the total respondents take less than two weeks of annual leave each year.

“Our statistics also show that when they do take time out, many find it difficult to completely switch off. However, it could be argued that it is better to work some of the time rather than abandon holidays altogether and technological advancements have made it possible for entrepreneurs to run and manage their business from anywhere in the world,” said Mr Randall.

The Business Barometer results reveal the biggest sources of stress for SME owners while on holiday are:
• Increased workload upon return to work (29%)
• General anxiety about being away from the business (20%)
• Reduction in employee productivity while they’re gone (15%)

Furthermore, more than half of small business owners surveyed admit that managing cash flow is one of the major challenges they face.

“Poor cash flow might mean suppliers or workers aren’t paid on time so my advice is to look closely at ways to manage this so the business can continue to operate effectively, even when the business owner is on holiday,” Mr Randall added.

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