Small business leaders look to prioritise better work-life balance

New research has revealed that – after a challenging few years – small business leaders increasingly recognise the importance of a healthy work-life balance and downtime to improving their personal wellbeing as well as vital business leadership skills.

The study by American Express which surveyed over 500 small business owners and leaders in the UK, reveals they are now prioritising better work-life balance; seven in 10 (71%) say the pandemic has changed the way they think about their life and personal priorities, while a similar number (69%) agree that improving work-life balance is high on their list of priorities.

Small business leaders also clearly recognise the importance of regular downtime to their overall leadership performance and abilities: 62% say they make more mistakes if they don’t have periods of time away from the coalface and 85% say regular breaks are important to being a good leader or manager.

This reset of work and life comes as no surprise, as nearly half (49%) of small business leaders say they are currently worn out. The vast majority (88%) also say that work regularly interrupts their life outside of work, with more than a quarter (27%) reporting that these interruptions happen every day. About four in 10 (42%) state they have had fewer opportunities to rest and recuperate over the last two years compared to normal times and, as a result, a similar number (46%) say they feel guilty about not spending enough time with family or friends.

Ahead of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the study also highlights the importance of personal wellbeing for business leaders. The results suggest wellbeing is being sacrificed as respondents struggle to disconnect from work, with more than three-quarters (77%) indicating that improving their mental wellbeing is one of the primary reasons for taking time off work.

American Express is highlighting to small business owners how they can make more of their downtime by turning their everyday business spending into pleasurable activities and treats using American Express Membership Rewards® points. These points earned on every transaction give small business leaders flexibility to use their rewards in a way that best suits them – including funding breaks abroad, personal treats or team building activities. Terms apply.

Stacey Sterbenz, General Manager, Global Commercial Services UK at American Express said: “Running a small business can be all-consuming, especially in these last few years. Our research reveals that small business leaders have struggled to take time for themselves, which has had an impact on their personal life and leadership abilities. Our focus is on backing these businesses at work but also beyond with rewards that allow them the chance to do more of the things they love.”

From this week, a new American Express multi-channel advertising campaign highlights how American Express Membership Rewards points, earned through business spending, can fund activities and personal passions. The campaign features the first ever UK TV ad for the American Express Business Card portfolio, and emphasising that “The Card is for Business, The Points are for Pleasure”.

Membership Rewards points give American Express Cardmembers the flexibility to make the most of their rewards in a way that best suits them, from shopping to gift vouchers to holidays abroad. Business Cardmembers can even choose to make a dent in their monthly bill payments through a statement credit. When it comes to travel, Membership Rewards points can be used with a number of airline partners including British Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Club Eurostar and three hotel chains (Hilton, Radisson and Marriott)