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Struggle with work-life balance

Only 1 in 4 women business owners planning fortnight in the sun

Algarve

Holidays in the sun are a distant dream for many women (pic: Terry Murden)


Only one in four female small business owners (25%) say they will be having a two-week holiday this summer as they struggle to balance work with time off.

A survey found that 42% of female entrepreneurs could not afford to take a summer holiday this year and 13% said they were too busy to take more than the odd day off from their business.

Set against the legal requirement for employees to take 20 days off a year, half of all female business owners admitted to taking less than 10 days off in the last 12 months – a significantly bigger issue than for all small business owners (30%).

Whilst 42% of female respondents said a lack of funds meant they couldn’t take time off for a decent family break this summer, around one in five (19%) also went as far to say that “if I’m not working, I am not earning.” For those that can afford time off, around one in ten women said they would be booking a UK-based holiday in order to cut back on costs (13%). 

The research from Hitachi Capital asked 4,986 small business owners questions about work stresses and their work-life balance. The single biggest worry for female small business owners was not being able to switch off, an issue for 52% of women – with 38% saying they were also anxious about what would happen to their enterprise if they were unable to work.

In addition, 34% of women cited late payments by their customers as a big cause of concern and 28% worried about not having enough money to invest in the business. Both these concerns were significantly more prevalent among women than small business owners in general (10% and 10% respectively).  

Whilst female business owners worry about the pressure points and uncertainty of running a business – and may sacrifice summer holidays as a result – the research also suggests they are more likely to value their immediate family as a support system.

In addition to relying on a supportive partner (64%), women are more likely to say they get support and encouragement from their friends (45% vs national average 40%) and their children (17% vs national average 12%). Women were also more likely to turn to their pets for comfort during moments of business stress (18% vs national average 13%).

Gavin Wraith Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said: “Our latest research suggests a large proportion of small businesses are run by women.

“The work-life balance issues, however, are a challenge. It is a concern that women business owners are taking so little holiday and the root cause of many of their worries relates to cash flow and access to finance.”



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