Is your health at risk? Majority of SME owners working on vacation

Mortgage brokers know as well as any small business owner: running a business is not a 9 to 5 job. Especially at the start, it requires late nights, weekends and few (if any) days off, which according to new research is putting health at risk.

Only 50% of SME owners took a holiday in the last six months, 26% said they haven’t taken a break for at least four years and 6% haven’t taken any time off from their business, according to OnDeck’s study.

The research also revealed that 70% of SME owners plan to go on vacation in 2019. But among those who have no intention of taking some time off, 55% said it’s due to their business’ dependence on them.

Even when SME owners do decide to take a break, the majority continue to work. Eight out of ten SME owners still check emails daily, while only 5% said they “never” check their inboxes.

It doesn’t have to be long
For those brokers who relate to the results of this survey, Wellness expert and co-owner of RISE Health and Fitness John Fell said, “It is vitally important for SME owners to take a break from their business.”

It doesn’t even have to be a massive break, he added. A long weekend here and there can help them recharge.

Fell stressed that the long hours SME owners dedicate to their work can cause serious health impacts. “Poor dietary choices and low levels of physical activity are all contributing factors to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A constant focus on work can even impact personal relationships,” Fell said.

“The energy of the owner drives the energy of the business. Having structured rules in place around turning off mobile devices and spending time investing in relationships can help SME owners avoid being constantly reactive to work.”

A good business practice
The research sheds light on the stresses involved in running a business, according to OnDeck CEO Cameron Poolman.

“SME owners are not just the backbone of their business, they have also made a significant investment in the venture, so it is not surprising that many are reluctant to step aside – even for short periods,” he said.

“However, the health and wellbeing of SME owners is often closely linked to the success of their business. If the owner’s light burns out, the business will suffer. This makes it good business practice for SME owners to make time for breaks to relax and recharge”

OnDeck head of people and culture Cherie Habashi said the team serves as the backbone of any business. Employers are realising team members can also feel the impact of stress, and if not addressed, could negatively affect business performance and individual morale.

She added that the OnDeck team, believing that having time outs and taking a break from the norm is important, invite masseurs to their office during busier periods to give free 10-minute neck and upper back massages, and regularly host ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions to address issues such as wellness, health and fitness.