Preston small business owners 'unhappy and stressed out'

Preston has been revealed as one of the worst cities in the UK for a good work-life balance.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Will small business owners feel happier when life returns to normal like this?

Just one in four SME owners say they have a good work-life balance.

The takepayments Limited annual 2021 business challenges report of 1,000 small business and decision makers finds 86 per cent of small business owners are working over the recommended maximum of 48 hours a week, and more than two thirds of business owners had to work more hours during the pandemic.

The report reveals business owners in Preston are third unhappiest with their work- life balance compared to anywhere in the UK.

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But Lancashire business chiefs said today that the stresses of the pandemic would cause any business owner to feel fed up.

Small business owners in Sheffield are the least happy with their work-life balance 15 per cent surveyed saying they have a good work-life balance.

Second worst is Coventry with 23 per cent , and Preston also with 23 per cent.

Cardiff SME owners are the happiest with their work-life balance as more than half (55 per cent) believe they have a good work-life balance, despite only 18 per cent having at least two rest days and 15 per cent working a 48-hour week or less.

Sandra Rowley at takepayments said: “Last year was challenging time for all businesses and unfortunately the uncertainty will continue into this year.

“However, we have light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully life can start to go back to normal following a successful roll out of the vaccine and hopefully some work life balance will be regained.

“Whilst business owners are faced with difficult staff decisions and working all hours to try and keep their business afloat, it is a real concern that they may find themselves burnt out.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is concerning that some Preston business owners are unhappy with their work-life balance.

“Burn-out is a real danger; the Chamber is committed to offering measures to support the health and wellbeing of everyone in the workplace.

“However, we must be wary of accepting a long-term view based any judgment made on the results over the last year.

“As an area among the hardest hit by pandemic restrictions, it is sadly inevitable that business owners will have been doing extra work with staff missing due to isolation or furlough.

“Also, the stresses of keeping a business afloat, whether that be through adaptation, diversification, or by making some tough decisions on staff levels will be a contributing factor.”

Ms Murphy added: “As the economy reopens and things start to return to normal it is important that those leading their business take more time for themselves and look after their own wellbeing.

“It will be interesting to look again at these figures based on this year as things hopefully return to normal.”