Small business bosses expect a busy Christmas

Small business owners and managers who work regular weekly hours are expecting to work through the bank holidays this festive season, new research suggests.


One in five managers with Monday-Friday jobs expects to have to work those extra days in order to keep their business functioning, according to Everline.


Of the popular days to work, New Year’s Day topped the bill with 13% of owners suggesting they would work it while a smaller 12% will work on Boxing Day.


More than half of those planning to work extra days said it was to prevent them falling behind while 42% feared they may lose business if they took time off.


Some 34% of firms added that other staff could not do their roles in their place, as they lacked the necessary skills and business acumen.


Those in the 18-34 age bracket were most likely to work bank holidays as they were twice as likely to work on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day and three times more likely to work Boxing Day than older people.


A lack of correct skills among the workforce was the main reason for 42% of cases to choose to work on these days while 28% admitted they did not trust others to act on their behalf.


This suggests that a potential skills shortage could exist among small businesses while also highlighting a change in attitudes towards the holidays. The results coincide with a separate survey into SME working hours which revealed that as many as three quarters of small business owners will work through their holidays.


The survey – conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Xero – suggested that 15% will spend more than half a day working while 17% will have no time off at all.


The addition of cloud technology and mobile working makes it easier to work away from an office or shop and ensures that the business is never too far away. This means it’s possible to keep finances in check at all times but also gives business owners less time to relax.


Despite the potential downsides, working through the holidays could still be a preferred solution for business owners who don’t want to run the risk of financial losses as a result of shutting down or having an inexperienced individual left in charge.


In situations where large amounts of additional finance are not available, these issues could place a company in difficulty or even in a situation where restructuring or insolvency is needed.


Most small business owners wish to avoid these pitfalls and this may mean they face a busy Christmas and New Year period.


By Phil Smith


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