No rest for Aussie small businesses

Over half of the owners of Aussie small businesses struggle to take time off work over Christmas, and are not fully exploiting the technologies that would help them do this.

With summer holidays just around the corner, new research released from cloud-accounting firm Xero has revealed that the owners of more than half – 55% – of Aussie small businesses find it difficult to take time off work, with many – 38% – preferring to work through the summer holidays.

The survey from Xero looks at the behaviour of small business-owners during the Christmas holiday period, and the technology they use within their organisation.

According to the survey, the key reasons Australian small business owners struggle to take time off are:

  • they need to be available at all times as they are the decision maker – 42%
  • they are the sole employee of their business – 37%
  • they are just too busy to take holidays – 25%
  • they are unable to relax if they don’t know what’s going on in their business – 32%

It has been more than a year since their last holiday for 57% cent of Australian small-business owners, and over two years for nearly a quarter –23% – of them. This inability to switch off is concerning, and, when combined with limited time with family and friends, increases the potential of burnout.

For the lucky 45% of small-business owners who don’t find it difficult to take time off, the key to their relaxation is delegation and preparation – 19% of them have hired employees that they trust to run the business in their absence.

A third – 33% – of owners of Aussie small businesses prepare for their break by doing extra work in the lead-up to Christmas, while 22% enforce mandatory shut down periods at their businesses.

Technology is a major factor, yet-to-be-fully-exploited factor, in helping small business owners relax, with the survey finding:

  • only 12% use technology to do work and run their business remotely while on holidays
  • 13% turn email notifications off, and 10% take a vacation in locations without a phone signal
  • more than half – 56% – admitting that using mobile technology to manage their business or work remotely would make it easier to take more holidays

‘We already knew that small business owners are hard workers, but the fact that almost a quarter haven’t taken a holiday in over two years is quite concerning,’ says Chris Ridd, Managing Director of Xero Australia.

‘There are plenty of tools to help small businesses manage their business and work remotely if need be, allowing them to check in on their business with the click of a button, no matter where they are. Having the ability to know what’s going on in your business whilst you’re away can lead to greater peace of mind, giving business owners more incentive to take time off from work’, he adds.