Opinion

Don't let your work-life balance suffer this Christmas

5 min read

18 December 2018

Spare a thought for owners of the UK’s small businesses – with more than half saying they expect to work on Christmas Day.

Christmas is a stressful time for businesses, as it’s often a period of feast or famine.

Depending on the products or services produced, it’s either painfully quiet or manically busy.

Each brings their own set of unique Yuletide headaches – and thanks to this, more than half of small business owners expect to work on Christmas Day.

Over three-quarters say they will work in some capacity over the duration of the holidays.

Only 12% intend to put their feet up and instead enjoy the never-ending stream of repeats on the telly.

According to research, carried out on behalf of Vista Print, come December 25th, one in five will still monitor emails and 17% will use the time to catch up on paperwork, rather than risk becoming embroiled in the Call the Midwife Christmas Special!

Sadly, two thirds of those planning to work Christmas Day expect to be at the grindstone for more than six hours, while 18% reckon their working day will pass the 10-hour mark.

I remember the Christmas stresses and strains in the early days of Pimlico Plumbers. During the holidays the ‘bog standard’ work tended to dry up and the phone only rang in an emergency, mostly at the most inconvenient time.

Many of our small business owners have little choice but to work at some point over Christmas to ensure their continued survival. They don’t have the luxury of an extensive staff or managers to rely upon.

Others will carry on regardless because it’s in the blood and reflects a pride in their business and a determination to succeed and prosper.

This Christmas, our plumbers (and all other trades) will be on 24 hour call as always, but at least I have the luxury of being able to relax a little more these days, safe in the knowledge I can rely on my professional workforce.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll switch off. I’m still at the end of the phone should any issues arise, and I’m certainly grateful to those who do man the frontline this time of the year.

The reality is that whether it’s my business or a startup, no-one can afford to let a single customer down. And while Christmas can create problems, it also provides major growth opportunities.

I always celebrate Christmas well with my people and this year I threw Pimlico’s biggest and best bash yet, at the Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington – complete with a glittering array of tribute bands, including Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury!

For it’s not only business owners who will be working hard over the festive period to keep this country and its economy running. Everyone deserves our acknowledgement and gratitude.

However, I’ve always said business is a marathon and not a sprint, and I’d urge those owners of small business to remember this and secure a happy work life-balance by spending some quality time this Christmas with their nearest and dearest.

After all, you can’t take it with you and everyone needs the time and space to recharge their business batteries.

Owners of small businesses shouldn’t work simply for the sake of it. Paperwork can be put aside, it’s not always necessary to continuously monitor emails and maybe a business won’t fold simply because the boss takes a few hours out.

Yes, Christmas is an important time for many small businesses, but it’s also an important time for the family. So, whenever possible, take a step back and take te time to appreciate all that’s been achieved.

And if you are able to catch the Call the Midwife Christmas Special, all the better!