Nine in 10 British business owners work on holiday, new damning study reveals – Business over beach

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Shocking new statistics shared today (Weds 8 May) reveal over nine in 10 British business owners work while on holiday – admitting that it’s “business over the beach”.

The national study describes this damning trend as ‘downtime deficit’.

While it highlights a boom in the entrepreneurial mindset – with nearly half (48%) of Brits having one or more side hustles this year – a shocking two thirds (65%) confess to having cancelling planned breaks due to work.

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The stats, released by global travel and leisure company TUI, also found that the majority of business owners take just five days off every year.

Downtime DeficitDowntime Deficit
Downtime Deficit

This is tied to them feeling so passionately about their business – but this passion can come at a cost to their wellbeing and ‘me time’.

The professionals who are the worst off? Personal trainers.

Over a third of fitness coaches (35%) took just one or two days annual leave in 2023.

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They were closely followed by photographers/videographers (27%) and plumbers (22%).


Other top professions that struggled to switch off and take a proper break were designers (25%), makeup artists (20%), electricians (19%) and hairdressers (18%).

Those working in the hospitality industry also struggle to go on holiday, as do farmers and shopkeepers.

Of all participants, one in 12 (8%) said they never put away their laptop during holidays.

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To highlight the issue of overworking, TUI has partnered with Dilly Carter, best known for her business ‘Decluttering Dolly’, which features on BBC’s Sort Your Life Out.

Dilly, who boasts 400,000 followers online, knows all too well the sacrifice that comes with running your own business.

She said: “I may be a master of finding tranquillity within my home through decluttering, but decluttering my mind is a different story and has taken me a lot more practice.

“Growing a business and raising my 10-year-old daughter are two passion projects I wouldn’t change for the world, but taking a holiday has certainly taken a back seat in the early years when all I could think about was getting Declutter Dollies off the ground.

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“I wish I could tell my younger self to take that trip away, put my phone on airplane mode and completely unplug from the daily grind, as we all know you come back clearer and even more focused to succeed.”

Despite the gloomy outlet, the study did reveal some positive trends for the UK’s workforce.

Almost half (48%) of the entrepreneurs surveyed agreed that taking regular breaks or holidays does wonders for their mental wellbeing.

And 44% said that their output at work is better post-vacation – which proves just how important it is.

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Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK&I, added: “It’s great to see such passion and drive in our nation.

“At TUI, we believe everyone, including those hustling and growing a business, have definitely earned a break – whether that’s resting on the beach with emails on do not disturb, or discovering the depths of a new city.”

The company has also announced a new scheme called ‘Entrepreneurs Escape’, where passionate business owners can be nominated to receive a paid-for holiday, courtesy of TUI.

Flintham added: “We are so happy to be able to gift deserving entrepreneurs a trip away that’s well-overdue for many, so we encourage everyone to nominate someone they feel is going above and beyond – whether they are growing a business from the ground up or hustling on the side.”

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TUI want to celebrate entrepreneurs’ passion and dedication to their work by giving them a well-deserved holiday, or three! You can nominate an entrepreneur you believe is in need of some R&R via, entries close 8th June 2024 with holidays redeemable over three years.

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