British start-up bosses working shorter weeks

BRITISH bosses of small business enjoy a short working week compared to competitors in other major economies, clocking up an average of just 37.6 hours even when tasks like checking emails after work are included in the total.

And UK entrepreneurs take 21.4 days of annual holiday, above their US counterparts who take just 10.1, or those in France who escape work for 17 days a year, according to a poll of 3,000 small businesses by insurer Hiscox.

A higher proportion of Brits consider having lunch at the desk (51 per cent), checking voicemails away from the office (72 per cent) and after-hours networking (71 per cent) as part of their working week than any other country in the survey.

But their relatively relaxed working practices are coupled with a sunnier view of regulations in the country. While 54 per cent of Brits agree that government bureaucracy is a major barrier to new businesses, this is much lower than the average of 70 per cent.

Across the seven countries in the poll, 38 per cent of small business owners were optimistic about the year ahead, down from 48 per cent a year ago. Forty-two per cent of British entrepreneurs said they were upbeat.

Similarly, the number of firms reporting increases in revenue has fallen slightly, down from 41 to 40 per cent, and the share saying that they now have more customers also dropped, from 59 to 51 per cent.

Nearly one in three have launched a new product or service in the last year, and two-thirds expect to launch one this year.