One in five SME owners work an extra three hours every day due to the pandemic

New research has revealed that one in five UK SME owners are working an additional three hours daily on average to manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business.

Many SME owners reported that longer working hours meant they had to make personal sacrifices, such as reducing time spent relaxing, quality time with family, and exercising. 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 bank, who commissioned the research, 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, working to reduce anxiety about the business’s future and pursuing more new business opportunities.

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 that their business would survive.