I’m lucky. By the time I decided to combine employment with a freelance writing career, both my children were at secondary school. Although they could be a little distracting in the holidays, they were able to look after and amuse themselves while I was working.
But a survey carried out by Direct Line for Business in 2015 found that 60% of the UK’s home-based entrepreneurial parents had to reduce their working hours to some extent during school holidays. And I can relate to that, because nine years ago I started my own online retail business – and my children were younger then!
Parenthood Problems of Entrepreneurs
My son was only seven when I launched my business and there were times when he found it hard to accept that Mum needed to be left alone for a while to put all those items in jiffy bags for the nice people far away. So I know firsthand that it can be tough trying to run a business when there are small people who need your attention – and how difficult it can be to arrange childcare.
I managed by sharing childcare with a friend when things were really busy, but that’s not an option for everyone. Now, with staggered term times becoming more common and children at different schools in the same area having holidays at different times, making childcare arrangements even trickier.
Does this mean things need to change? According to a new survey, many of us think so.
Term Time Troubles
Ava, a virtual receptionist company, has conducted a survey on these issues and discovered that 53% of their respondents would support a reform to the staggered term times that cause problems for many small business owners and the self-employed. Women seemed to recognise the benefit, with 62% saying they were in favour of a reform compared to 45% of men, while younger respondents between 25 and 34 supported the idea more than their older counterparts did.
Lucie Greenwood, Sales Manager at ava, believes unpredictable scheduling of school holidays is causing unnecessary problems for small business owners. “It’s impossible for the education system to accommodate the needs of all entrepreneurs, but the lack of consistency in the way holidays are scheduled from school to school across the country is clearly putting many start-ups on the back foot,” she commented.
“As you can see from the preliminary term dates outlined by the EU, there are many regional variations across England and Wales. The biggest problems occur when schools within the same area introduce different holiday periods – something that we saw happening in certain parts of the UK this Easter.”
How do you balance childcare with your business? Have staggered holidays caused you extra problems?
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