More work and less play for SME bosses

6 May 2008

Irish owner-managers of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are working 51 hours a week, about 15 hours more than regular Joe Shmoes, according to O2’s latest annual SME lifestyle survey.

Flat-out bosses are working two hours more per week than they did in 2004, the survey found.

“Our survey finds that the numbers of owners working more than 51 hours a week has risen from 30pc to 39pc over the past four years. Not only are they working long hours but they frequently bring work home and find it hard to switch off, even on holiday,” commented Billy D’Arcy, head of corporate and business sales, O2 Ireland.

The O2 survey, which was conducted by TNS mrbi and polled 300 firms employing between one and 250 people, found that the number of owners or directors of SMEs who always take their full entitlement to annual leave fell from 44pc in 2004 to 36pc today. Some 41pc never take their full holidays, the survey found.

The numbers working at weekends more than once a month have increased from 62pc four years ago to 73pc today. Some 59pc bring work home in the evenings, and of these 67pc bring work home more than two or three times a week. Some 42pc said they missed important family events due to work.

Exhausted from all this work, bosses preferred, non-work activity is vegging out. Watching TV and reading were also among the top activities, while just over half cited the pub as a favourite means of relaxation and less than a third (31pc) are members of a gym.

Dublin bosses spend nearly twice as long commuting as their country cousins, the survey revealed, with the average daily commute in Dublin being 68 minutes, compared with 36 minutes for people in the sticks.

“The figures probably understate the normal commute time, as about 20pc of our respondents spend no time commuting, suggesting that they work from home,” said D’Arcy. “Almost one in 10 spend more than 2.5 hours a day commuting.”

By Niall Byrne