Many people feel there’s not enough hours in the day, especially when juggling the complexities of modern working life and family. But for small business owners, it seems the challenge is even greater, according to a new “Small Business Tracker” study published by business loans provider “Everline” on their website.
Many small business owners are finding the usual 9-5pm working hours a thing of the past, with many working into the night and on weekends just to keep up with growing business demands and in order to try and beat the competition. The report highlighted how more than half of business owners stated that they expected to work during weekends or on bank holidays.
According to the report, the amount of hours’ overtime worked by the UK’s small business decision makers is worth around £22bn a year to the national economy. This is equivalent to 1% of GDP and highlights just how many hours our small business owners really do put in.
The report, which was based on 1000 UK decision makers for SMEs, found that 4 out of 5 respondents had worked these extra hours this October. In fact, 18% said that they had worked at least 60 additional hours across the entire month – that would equate to two extra weeks’ worth of work for a usual 9-5pm worker.
Russell Gould, Managing Director of Everline, commented on the report, “We looked at the issues that are important to business owners…We found that finance is key. Technology is key. And acquiring customers is key. But what we also found is that decision makers often don’t have enough time to do all the things they need to do.”
So what are these extra hours being spent on? One reason extra time is being spent could be the pitfalls of hiring new staff, which seems to be a major burden for SMEs across the UK. The survey found that 100 hours a year are spent on recruitment and training. Around 16% of the businesses questioned reporting unfilled vacancies, and on the whole the CEBR estimates there were around 520,000 unfilled vacancies. The Everline Business Tracker points to some significant skills shortages as a potential blame; if all these vacancies were to be filled, the economic GDP would gain a £18bn boost.
So, is there an answer, or are SME owners destined for a life in front of their PC? The report found that 1 in 4 business leaders were working overtime because they didn’t trust their staff to do the job properly. By helping businesses recruit the right people, and gaining investment for training, small businesses would perhaps be able to delegate across the workforce and reduce overtime hours considerably, whilst boosting the business as a whole.