More than half of UK SME leaders (52 per cent) took five or fewer days holiday last year, with one in five taking no time off at all.
Research from Aldermore SME Future Attitudes revealed today that most small business bosses find it hard to switch off, as nearly a quarter (24 per cent) still answer emails and calls while on holiday and 35 per cent doing any outstanding work while away.
One in five have even cancelled days off in order to make sure work is completed.
Londoners are the worst offenders, with 30 per cent of small business leaders in the capital continuing to pick up business calls and emails on holiday.
Yet the majority of the most senior people in SMEs do not practice what they preach, encouraging employees to make the most of their time away from work.
Seven in 10 bosses said they like to see their employees use their full amount of annual leave, and only one in six (17 per cent) do not actively encourage staff to take time off.
Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, praised the dedication SME owners have to their businesses but said: “It is however worrying that so many business leaders do not take their annual leave entitlement.
He added: “It is crucial they take proper breaks to achieve a good work life balance and avoid burn out. Enjoying well-earned time off to recharge their batteries could bring a fresh perspective to their business thinking.”