When was the last time you worked through the weekend? If you’re a small- or medium-sized business owner, chances are it’s happened recently. In fact, just 17% of startup and small business owners say they never work at weekends.

A lack of time is one of the biggest challenges facing the small business community today. Small businesses by their nature have fewer staff to handle admin, IT, financial management and recruitment requirements. Looking after the essentials of the business can take precious time away from servicing or finding customers, and this can seriously hamper working conditions and growth.

That’s why we’ve surveyed 500 SMB owners in the UK to understand the factors behind time-shortages, how time poverty impacts performance – and how small businesses can find the extra minutes and hours that they need. We need these businesses to be our disruptors, our innovators, exploring the next best thing – but they need the time and the space to be able to do that.


Long hours that compromise business performance and staff wellbeing

At first glance, the hours worked by small- and medium-sized business owners appear close to the national average for full-time employees, at 31-40 hours a week. But dig deeper, and it’s clearly the norm – not the exception – to work outside of “routine” hours.

Very few SMBs owners never work on bank holidays (22%), their annual holidays (22%) or religious holidays (20%). And although three fifths (62%) were motivated by a better work/life balance when they started their business, that’s frequently not the reality further down the line. 

More than a third (40%) admit to a “hustle and grind” culture that’s damaging both business performance and employee wellbeing. From the business perspective, two fifths (45%) say that a lack of time has cost their organisation money or new business. 

But perhaps even more of a concern, almost half (47%) of SMB leaders say a lack of time has a negative impact on their health or that of their employees – and one in four (31%) have seen employees take time off due to poor mental health.



Finding the extra minutes and hours that SMBs need

Finding new customers and serving the ones that you have is critical for growing a small or medium-sized business, especially with customer expectations higher than ever. But SMBs’ time is often lost to other, less valuable tasks. Half of SMB leaders say admin is the biggest time-waster in the business.

Fortunately, SMB owners believe that technology can help them find the extra minutes and hours that will make a real difference. Half say that thanks to technology employees have already become more productive than they were two years ago, while 51% say emerging technologies will save the business more time in the future.



Technology can help SMBs focus their time effectively by:


  • Automating sales admin to give the team more time to sell
  • Streamlining repetitive tasks and data entry 
  • Collating and managing customer enquiries to improve customer service


Smaller businesses are often more time-poor than their larger rivals, which means it’s imperative that time is spent in the right way.  Technology can help SMBs focus on what matters, to improve their business performance and working lives. Read more about how technology can save your business valuable time in our #TimetoTransform report