East Anglia: Close Brothers survey reveals how SME owners struggle to ‘switch off’ while on holiday

Mike Randall, chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Finance.

Mike Randall, chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Finance. - Credit: Archant

Nearly a quarter of SME (small and medium-size enterprise) bosses in East Anglia say they remain in constant contact with their office while on holiday.

And the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer survey found that a similar proportion are in touch with work at least once a day while on leave while a further quarter check work emails but only contact the office if it is urgent.

Mike Randall, chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Finance, which conducts the quarterly poll, said that although many bosses clearly found it “difficult to completely switch off”, modern communications were helping them to take at least some time off work.

The Business Barometer results indicate that the biggest sources of stress for local SME owners while on holiday are an increased workload upon their return to work (cited by 26%), general anxiety about being away from the business (15%) and a reduction in employee productivity while they are away (15%).

Mr Randall 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 59% of small and medium sized business owners in East Anglia told us that they believe that taking a break from work can give their business a boost, in reality 43% 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 bosses in the region find it difficult to completely switch off.

Most Read

“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.”.

While at work, near two fifths of small business owners surveyed in East Anglia said that managing cash flow was one of the major challenges they faced.

“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.