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July 29, 2011

Business owners take less than two weeks holiday a year

The majority of small-business owners took less than two weeks’ holiday last year, well below the national average, new research has found.

A poll of 500 firms by IFF Research found that two-thirds (69 per cent) of bosses were unable to get away for more than 14 days in total during 2010, while 13 per cent took no time off at all. In contrast, the amount of holiday taken by employees is typically between four and five weeks a year.

IFF Research managing director Mark Speed said the results revealed the pressure of running a small firm. “In smaller organisations, employers are more able to set the level of holiday which they personally take,” he said. “Even with this control, many clearly feel that they cannot take a decent amount of leave.”

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of WorkWise, which campaigns for smarter working practices, said for many business owners going without an annual holiday was “simply a reality”.

But those who consistently went without a break were in danger of damaging their health, he added. “If you don’t look after yourself, and maintain your health and energy levels, you will burn out,” said Flaxton.

Planning well ahead, making the most of seasonal market shifts and using technology like smartphones and video conferencing could all help business owners to take time out from the workplace, he added.

“It might just be a question of putting a holiday date in the diary far enough in advance and working to that deadline,” said Flaxton. “Communicating holiday dates to staff can also help you stick to your plans.”