It found that almost half of SME employees (47 per cent) regularly work four or more hours of overtime per week, with 29 per cent working for more than seven hours. For more than half of these employees, overtime is unpaid.A fifth said they take less than 30 minutes for lunch and 12 per cent said they didn’t stop for lunch at all. “Small and medium sized business are the backbone of the economy – driving innovation, enterprise and growth,” says AXA PPP healthcare SME director Glen Parkinson. “Their commitment is commendable yet our study shows that owners and bosses may be putting themselves and their employees at increased risk of burnout and ill health through protracted overwork.” The survey found that employees were also neglecting family time, with 27 per cent having cancelled time with friends and family due to work constraints and 18 per cent of parents having missed a school play or parent’s evening because of work in the past three months. Mental health was also found to be particular problem. 71 per cent of those diagnosed with conditions such as stress, depression or anxiety said they wouldn’t feel happy talking about it at work, and 41 per cent said they hadn’t received enough support from their employer. “A focus on wellbeing can help smaller and medium sized firms to thrive. Owners should prioritise their own health and the health of their employees as much as they prioritise their pursuit of commercial success,” Parkinson added.
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