One in five SME owners working an extra 3 hours daily due to pandemic impact

POSTED: 7th October 2020
IN: Newsroom
  • 32% of leaders have sacrificed spending time with their family to focus on supporting their business
  • Extra time spent focusing on existing customers is the main reason why SME owners are working overtime
  • Aldermore launches ‘Small But Mighty Business Mental Health Guide’ to help business leaders avoid burnout and manage stress

New research from Aldermore bank reveals that one in five (21%) small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners are working an additional three hours daily on average to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business1.

Many SME owners reported that longer working hours meant they had to make personal sacrifices, such as reducing time spent relaxing (37%), quality time with family (32%), and exercising (20%). 43% of SME owners described themselves as being “stressed or anxious” due to the pandemic.

While working longer hours is not necessarily damaging to an individual’s mental health, having an uneven work life balance can impact performance and lead to fatigue and depression. Working from home can also cause additional stress with 16% of SME directors finding it difficult to create a healthy work/life balance when working outside of the office.

Tim Boag, group managing director, business finance, Aldermore said: “While it’s easy to assess the financial health of a business by looking through financial statements, it can be much harder to determine the mental wellbeing of staff.

“During this financially challenging and difficult period, director burnout is now a real risk for many overworked SME owners, so it’s vital that business owners and their employees take some time out and maintain a healthy work life relationship. That’s why we’ve launched our mental health guide to help support SME owners as part of our ‘Small But Mighty Business’ campaign.”

The main causes of the increased time SME directors spent working included: spending more time serving existing customers (27%), working to reduce anxiety about the business’s future (21%) and pursuing more new business opportunities (19%).

When looking ahead to the future, 28% of SME directors were feeling anxious about what the next six months might mean for their business. More positively, a similar percentage felt determined (30%) that their business would survive.

Regional breakdown:

13% of SME directors in the North East were working 5 extra hours or more each day to manage the impact of Covid-19, the highest percentage of any UK region.

To support SME directors in managing their mental health and wellbeing, Aldermore has launched its ‘Small But Mighty Business Mental Health Guide’.


Notes to editors

1Research conducted by Opinium Research between 3rd July-13th July with a nationally representative sample size of 1,006 SME senior decision makers in SME businesses.

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