By Claire West

New research from AXA Business Insurance reveals more than a quarter of small business owners in the UK regularly push past the maximum 48 hour week recommended by the EU Working Time Directive.

Sixty eight per cent exceed the standard 35 hour working week, 25 per cent put in 51 hours or more and three per cent clock up an exhausting 80 hour week.

But despite the risks linked with longer working hours, the study also found that most small business owners enjoy what they do and feel overfilling their own diary is more appealing than punching a time clock for someone else.
Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance, a leading provider for sole traders, self-employed people and small to medium size enterprises said:

“Running your own successful business can be a real labour of love so it’s no great surprise that most small business owners work beyond the standard 35 hour week and are happy to do so.

“What could be a concern is the number of people who frequently put in more late nights and early mornings than experts consider safe or reasonable.

“Of course hard work is to be applauded, but burnout is bad for business. Research shows that productivity declines after a 50 hour week, while longer hours also bring increased health, safety and reputational risks - so everyone needs some down time, no matter how committed or effective they are.

“No one is invincible, and if you are regularly struggling to fit everything into your day, it might be time to take a step back, reflect and re-prioritise the key things that will protect your business and help it grow.”