Nearly three quarters of business owners think they’ll take no more than 5 days holiday in the next 12 months

We know it’s tough to find time to wind down if you run a business. To find out more, iwoca launched a survey to understand how much time business owners were managing to take off, and their holiday plans for the coming year.

16 September 2020

Our survey results from almost 500 business owners highlight the toll the pandemic has taken on holiday plans for small business owners across the UK.

“Holidays, I don’t do holidays”

What the data says

  • Even in normal times less than 4% of business owners took the usual 25 - 28 holiday days that many UK employees are allocated, with 59% taking 5 or fewer days’ holiday a year and 10% none at all.
  • Over the next 12 months, 73% of business owners predict they’ll take a maximum of 5 days off and over a third (37%) will take no time off at all.
  • Micro businesses are affected the most, with 44% of one-person businesses predicting zero holiday days in the coming year.
  • 41% of business owners wouldn't be able to run their business if they had to quarantine for 14 days after returning from a holiday abroad.

Samantha Guilfoyle is the founder of S G Accountancy. As a mum of three, and owner of two businesses, she explains what a typical “holiday” looks like for her, and how she manages running a business whilst taking time off.

“Holidays, I don’t do holidays,” says Samantha. “I get in the van and go to the beach and get up the next morning and come into the office. I haven't got anybody that I can leave to run things. I can reduce my hours, divert my phone and take my laptop with me so I can still work if I'm out and about.”

“It's only in the last couple of years I've actually moved into an office. I was in danger of just working at home and not doing anything other than work. When somebody called me at home, I felt compelled to deal with it. I’d be on call 24 7.”

Time off crucial for mental health

Most small business owners (89%) agree that holiday is important for mental health, but 73% think they'll have no more than 5 days off in the next 12 months. In June ONS data revealed that up to 19 million adults in Britain reported high levels of anxiety as a result of coronavirus, and as small business owners face further challenges arising from the pandemic – with government measures unwinding and rising economic uncertainty – they’ll need continued support to ensure levels of anxiety remain under control and allow them to take the time off they need.

“Many small business owners are quite rightly channelling all their energy into ensuring the future of their business,” said Niamh Keys, Head of People at iwoca. “But, this could be taking its toll on their own wellbeing. Our research shows that they fully understand the value in taking time off to improve their mental health, yet concerningly do not see themselves as being able to take much holiday in the future, perhaps due to financial concerns or the impact of COVID-19 on their business."

“As we all look to get through this unsettling period, business owners across the UK should consider how and when they are going to take some time off and prioritise their wellbeing.”

If you’re a small business owner and you’re looking for finance, you can apply for a loan with us through our Flexi-Loan or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

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Charlotte is a PR specialist at iwoca. She previously worked as a senior account manager, helping our customers access and utilise iwoca funding for their businesses.

Article updated on: 16 September 2020

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