So the school summer holidays are now in full swing and for your little ankle-biters that means staying up late, trips to the cinema and no homework but for business-owning parents it means compromise on time and profit. New research has shown that this year’s school summer holiday will likely cost the country more than £650m due to sacrificed hours, so we’re here to help you find the right balance.
Insurance firm, Direct Line for Business found that 60% of the 844,000 UK home business that have dependent children will cut their working hours dramatically this summer in order to spend more time with their families. The study revealed that, on average, business owners will surrender around 20 working hours every week to free up time to entertain children who are on a 6-week break away from school.
This reduction in working hours can be financially translated into a monetary loss of £658m, which is a pretty substantial reduction. We all know summer holidays are notoriously expensive but a multi-million pound price tag is a pretty hefty blow for the small business industry to take in favour of popcorn and playgrounds. Home business owners in the South East are expected to be the most effected with a predicted loss of £120m, while Londoners look to lose £100m and those in the East move away from triple figures with a £73m drop.
However, 31% of those surveyed by Direct Line did agree that the ability to spend this quality time with their children is what drives them to work so hard throughout the rest of the year, despite the economic impact. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a handful of hints to help you find a happy medium between keeping your business afloat and cashing in on priceless hours with your little nippers.
Don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of childcare
Popular author and fellow entrepreneur, Annabel Karmel, said: “Being your own boss isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle, and so reducing the workload when the children are at home is easier said than done. To keep Britain’s businesses as productive as possible, I believe there should be further investment in subsiding childcare costs for those operating home businesses.”
Childcare bills are a costly commitment and when profit loss is already an issue at the forefront of your mind, it can be difficult to justify the expense. However, making use of childcare services a couple of days a week might allow you the peace and quiet you need to really get stuck in. While your children are off making friends and gaining new experiences, you can be clocking in extra hours to keep your income steady and foot the childcare bill at the end of the month. Allowing family members, friends or other parents to take your children out for the day is another option that you shouldn’t feel ashamed to take advantage of.
Temporarily adjust your working hours
If childcare during school holidays really isn’t something you condone or the cost is just something you cannot afford then consider adjusting your work schedule for the six-week stint. While your little cherubs sleep soundly in their beds, set your alarm an hour earlier and get cracking while they enjoy a lie in. Then when they head off to sleep after a busy day at the beach and a belly full of ice cream, get back to work.
This way you can get the best of both worlds – you get to entertain the kids, avoid the cost of childcare and don’t have to compromise on working hours quite as much. Although it may seem harsh on your body clock, it will be worth it to catch a few hours in the middle of the day to relax and spend time with your kids. Remember, it’s only for a few weeks.
Allow yourself some time off too!
Despite recognising the difficulties that come with trying to find the right balance between business and leisure during your children’s school holidays, Annabel Karmel also advocates time to relax and catch up on valuable family time. She said: “Making the decision to run a business from home is often triggered by the need to have more flexibility as a parent, so give yourself a break. Don’t feel guilty about swapping your laptop for a play date, or exchanging emails for a day out with the kids and family.”
The whole point of running your own business is to gain that flexibility and financial gain that allows you to spend more time with your family and indulge in your hobbies more often. Everybody needs to take some time out for some well-earned rest and recuperation every now and again so sync your own breaks with the school holidays. Watching your children grow up is an invaluable experience that money simply can’t buy so make sure you cash in on it while you can!
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We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!