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UK entrepreneurs work shorter hours

Small business owners in the UK work shorter hours compared to their European and American counterparts, according to research carried out by insurance provider Hiscox.

UK entrepreneurs work 37.6 hours per week compared to the average 41.1 hours worked by business owners in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and the US.

The British also have the most 'elastic definition of what constitutes "work"', said the insurer, with lunching, networking and checking emails out of business hours considered as working.

Nearly half of all respondents considered the commute to and from the office as work, while 37 per cent believe they are working if they eat lunch at their desks.

The survey also revealed:

  • While only one in ten small businesses plan to take on new staff in the next 12 months, two thirds expect to avoid redundancies
  • Nearly one in three (29 per cent) small businesses had developed a new product or service in the past 12 months
  • More than half of business owners prefer being self-employed to being an employee, citing flexible working hours and more control over, and pride in, their work as major advantages.

Hiscox's CEO, Bronek Masojada, said: "Our research findings support the idea that small businesses are adapting to 'the new normal', anticipating tough trading conditions rather than expecting any early return to the boom years of the last decade."

"They are responding to the changing business environment with determination and inventiveness - launching new products or services that put them ahead of the competition, and investing in training and up-skilling. They also have a clear agenda for government, something policy-makers would be wise to study as they work towards securing a sensible and sustained economic recovery in each of these countries."