14 December 2015

According to the latest SME Risk Index, published by insurance company Zurich, nearly half (49%) of the decision-makers in small and medium-sized businesses have worked on Christmas Day.

Nearly one in five (18%) said that they had had to go into work on Christmas Day while nearly one-third (32%) let checking and sending work emails get in the way of the festivities.

For some, Zurich said, Christmas might as well be cancelled as 9% have missed their child’s nativity play, while 13% failed to make it to the work Christmas party.

The Index also shows that SME decision-makers are sacrificing holidays throughout the year, with 18% having had fewer than 10 days off this year and 14% having taken no annual leave at all.

Head of SME at Zurich, Jason Eatock, said: "It will come as no surprise to SMEs that despite commonly held views about the lifestyle benefits of working for yourself, the reality can be very different. Missing big events such as your child’s nativity play is a high price to pay and shows the pressure many SMEs are under."

With many people looking forward to taking some rest over the Christmas season, he continued, it seems that current economic and political concerns are driving many small business owners to carry on working — even on the big day itself.