Work Grinch steals Christmas from SMEs

POSTED: 10th December 2018
IN: Newsroom
  • SME owners set to get just five of the 12 days of Christmas off this year 
  • Over half (51%) of SMEs admit to feeling pressured to work during the festive period

According to the latest Aldermore Future Attitudes survey, SMEs are dreaming of a work/life balance this Christmas as they wish to spend time with friends and family. Over a quarter (28%) of business leaders - equating to 1.59m* companies with fewer than 250 employees – are hoping for this festive miracle. 

Christmas list

When it comes to their Christmas lists, over a fifth (23%) are asking Santa for more time out of the office, while less than one in ten (9%) dream of eight hours’ uninterrupted sleep in their Christmas stocking this year. Just under a fifth (18%) are hoping to find an improved cashflow in their cracker.

Time off

The survey of over a thousand business decision-makers across the UK shows that SMEs are getting far less than the 12 days of Christmas off. Business leaders are set to take an average of just five days off, with less than a quarter (23%) only taking two and half days. This decreases further to only two days for one in ten (10%) SMEs.

Pressure to work

Many SMEs feel the Grinch has stolen family time as they feel pressured into working over the holiday period. Over half (51%) of all UK SMEs will forego the mince pies and will instead delve into work mode. This mind-set is much more prominent amongst  leaders aged 18 – 34 (70%), compared to those aged 55 and over (39%).

Working around the Christmas tree may arise from several worries they admit to having for the next twelve months. Current economic conditions are feared most by just under a third (30%) of business leaders, with a quarter (25%) also concerned about their cash flow and 24%) about competitors.

Furthermore, female business leaders (56%) feel more compelled to work during this time, compared to businesses run by males (48%).

Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore comments: “SME leaders should be driving home for Christmas, and should avoid being driven to distraction by workloads. We understand that for many the line between their work and homelife is often blurred. This presents challenges when it comes to taking time off to unwind over the festive season. It is vital to take time to recharge in preparation for the new year.

“Considering the significant challenges they will need to overcome next year, such as ongoing economic and political uncertainty, it is even more important for the back-bone of the UK economy to be firing on all cylinders throughout 2019.”


For further information, journalists can contact:


Carmel McCarthy, Aldermore
Phone:            020 3553 4216
Mobile:            07464 644754

Twitter:           @aldermorenews


Notes to Editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, conducted by Opinium Research between 6 and 13 November 2018 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,003 senior decision makers in UK SMEs.

* SMEs figure – calculated using Federation of Small Business statistics that say the UK has 5.7m SMEs (2018 figures). Aldermore Future Attitudes research showed that 28% of SMEs admit the best gift they could receive this Christmas would be to spend time with family and friends. 28% of 5.7m = 1.59m

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