One in six small business owners are set to work on Christmas day, as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on their livelihoods.
While many people across the UK will have some time off over Christmas, small business owners are having to work overtime. One in six (16%) will work Christmas Day, while a third (31%) plan to work Boxing Day, according to a survey of 6,000 by small business lenders Iwoca.
This extends to those who are parents too, with one in 10 putting in five days over the holiday period — Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
What’s more, nearly a quarter (23%) of business owners will not buy any Christmas gifts for their family and friends this year.
More than than a third (35%) of those who are parents have had to cut back their spending on their children’s presents compared to pre-pandemic years, the survey found.
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“Christmas itself will of course be different for all of us, but it’s even more concerning that so many business owners are worried that they may not have a business to go back to in 2021,” said Seema Desai, chief operating officer of Iwoca.
“Christmas won't be an easy time for many business owners this year as they juggle to keep their businesses afloat while some will try to spend quality time with their families or loved ones.”
The research also found female business owners may be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as nearly half (47%) said they are worried they may have to close their business next year, compared to just over a third (35%) of men.
The holidays could be harder for female-led companies, with nearly a third (32%) of women planning to work extra hours in an attempt to compensate for the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis on their business. This is compared to a quarter of men.
Additionally, two in five (41%) female business owners said they will spend less time with their families this Christmas in order to focus on work, compared to a slightly smaller (39%) number of men.
Daiga Ozolniece, who owns the Birmingham-based beauty salon Adelaine Beauty, explained that whether or not her business has to close down in January all depends on this Christmas period.
“It's a hard time for everybody now, but it’s especially tough for beauticians. People aren’t going out anymore so they don’t go and get their lashes or nails done. Walk-in clients are not allowed under the government rules, but the beauty industry relies on them,” she said.
“My family will spend this Christmas without me. I’ll be sitting in my salon until the last minute, waiting for clients. I’ll work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day — every day. Every penny counts.There are no presents this year — none at all. We’re barely coping with the bills.”
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