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Over half of business owners in the UK believe taking holiday from work creates more stress, with 86% admitting they continue to contact with their workplace while they’re away from work.

In a recent study by AXA PPP healthcare, it is estimated that 55% of small business owners think that taking a holiday is more stressful than its worth, and 64% will take calls and respond to emails even if they aren’t working.

The owners surveyed agreed that they contact work because it eases their minds. Fifty-two per cent said contacting their business stopped them from worrying, 23% said they contact work because they feel in control, and 11% said they couldn’t relax otherwise.

Small business owners on average took just 11 days of holiday in 2014, but over half of them are planning to take more this year.

Glen Parkinson, SME Business Director at AXA PPP healthcare said: “It’s understandable that owners want to keep an eye on their businesses, even when they are on holiday, but it is concerning that they take so little time off and that they view their break so negatively. We know the importance of downtime, not just for wellbeing but also for ensuring productivity and good mental health.”

Working long hours leading to stress

On average, the business owners surveyed said they work 36 hours a week in the workplace but they also dedicate another 17 hours to the business when they are at home.

In addition, almost half of business owners said they feel stressed most or all of the time. With this, 82% of owners took sick leave last year.

Mr Parkinson added: “Small business owners have to combine leading their business and securing its future with ensuring the business-essential activities are also well managed. This degree of responsibility is therefore leading to longer working hours and higher levels of stress for many business owners. In the long-term, this behaviour is unsustainable and business owners should heed advice to take more time away from their business to rest and recharge as well as get the necessary support where appropriate.

“Often when it’s your business, you feel the need to work even when you’re not up to it to ensure success.”