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Half of SME managers have missed Christmas to work

3 min read

09 December 2015

Almost 50 per cent of SME bosses have worked on Christmas Day, according to new research carried out by Zurich Insurance.

Some 32 per cent of those surveyed admitted to sending work emails on the holiday, while almost one in five had shunned festivities to go into the office.

Decision makers at small firms were also likely to miss out on key occasions in the lead up to the big day – ten per cent said they had skipped a child’s nativity due to work commitments, with the same proportion missing out on putting up the Christmas tree. 

The data also revealed that 14 per cent of SME managers had not taken any annual at all leave this year – while an additional study by accounting software provider Zero, published in July, found that three quarters of small business owners and entrepreneurs had cancelled holidays for the sake of their company.

Jason Eatock, head of SME at Zurich, said: “As we look forward to taking some rest over the Christmas season, it seems current economic and political concerns are driving many of our small business owners to carry on working.”

Read more on email and productivity:

“It will come as no surprise to SMEs that despite commonly held views about the lifestyle benefits of working for yourself, the reality can be very different. Missing these big events is a high price to pay and shows the pressure many small firms are under,” he added.

At the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in May, psychologist Cary Cooper lambasted what he called an “epidemic” of British workers checking emails outside of work hours. He pointed to the UK’s low productivity relative to other G7 nations as evidence that “always on” culture was making British businesses less efficient. 

And many high profile businesspeople have spoken out against email overkill this year – with some even spurning the method of communication altogether. 

Kathryn Parsons, the CEO of tech education company Decoded, caused controversy in September when she switched hers off altogether, while US entrepreneur Leerom Seegal – whose firm Click banned internal email in 2011 – has written a book on why other firms should follow suit.