Forget feasting on turkey and kicking back on the sofa scoffing Quality Street, over half of small business owners expect to be working on Christmas Day as they battle to stay afloat during the cost of living crisis.
Rather than spending precious time off with family or friends, 59% of SME owners say they will be working on 25 December. More than half expect this to entail answering emails, and a third will be performing general business admin tasks like paying wages or checking invoices.
Beyond the typical tasks, business owners listed varied responsibilities to be carried out on Christmas Day including caring for livestock, welcoming guests to hospitality venues, responding to medical emergencies, car and boiler breakdowns, and even servicing wind turbines.
The findings are from new research from ANNA Money, the AI-powered business account for SMEs, which has supported more than 100,000 UK businesses.
While the majority of us will be making the most of bank holidays and using leave so we can take 10 clear days off – downing tools on 22 December til 1st Jan – the study found that 45% of SME owners plan to take only three days off during this time. Nearly three quarters attribute this reduced time off to the pressures of the cost of living crisis.
‘‘It’s more challenging than ever to run a profitable company so if anyone deserves a break over the Christmas holidays it’s SMEs, but our survey shows that many small business owners will be hard at it on the big day, sacrificing precious family time to keep their businesses up and running,” says ANNA co CEO Boris Diakonov. “As usual, I am full of admiration for these business owners, how hard they work and the huge contribution they make to our communities and economy.”
As of the beginning of 2023, the Federation of Small Businesses reported 5.5 million small businesses, accounting for 99.9% of the business population in the UK. SMEs contribute 61% of total employment and an estimated turnover of £2.4 trillion.