UK entrepreneurs pile £240 billion into ‘after-hours economy’

The UK’s entrepreneurs have contributed £240 billion worth of work to the ‘after-hours’ economy by working above and beyond standard industry hours, according to a new report.


The global survey, carried out by enterprise software company Sage, found that 38% of UK SME owners regularly worked longer than 40-hour weeks. Many had also sacrificed love, family and fun in favour of their businesses. A third of entrepreneurs surveyed said they had chosen work over family and relationships and only one in ten said these sacrifices had been worth it.


Working longer than office hours did have its compensations however. More than a third (36%) who routinely worked longer than the standard 8-hour day said they were “motivated by the sense of achievement” and 31% said they were “fuelled by the love of what they do.”


The survey also found that, while UK entrepreneurs worked hard, those from other countries put in even longer hours. Almost half (46%) of SME owners globally regularly work longer than standard within their industry. This after-hours working is worth £8.3 trillion to the global economy.


German entrepreneurs are particularly prone to working long hours, according to the survey, with 57% regularly working longer than 8-hour days.


Globally, 44% of those working after-hours said their relationships had suffered due to their work commitments. Nearly 40% reported having sacrificed time they could otherwise have spent with their families.


Turning ideas into a business is not an easy task and the figures from the survey reveal the level of commitment that is needed.


It’s also important that individuals spend time managing their finances and planning effectively, as their young businesses could be left facing insolvency if adequate measures are not taken. Those unsure of their situation should contact insolvency practitioners for advice and guidance, as any number of solutions might be available to assist them.


Entrepreneurs should not be discouraged from developing their ideas, but they should remain aware of the financials involved, especially if they are targeting rapid growth. Hours of hard work should bring results but the time needs to be used wisely.


By Phil Smith


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