Unsustainable workloads impacting SMB owners
New independent research by Xero reveals that Kiwi small business owners are working unsustainable hours, negatively impacting their wellbeing and productivity. According to the survey of more than 1,000 small business owners and sole traders across Aotearoa, one in three small business owners feel they’re working too many hours a week(1), while more than a quarter of […]
New independent research by Xero reveals that Kiwi small business owners are working unsustainable hours, negatively impacting their wellbeing and productivity.
According to the survey of more than 1,000 small business owners and sole traders across Aotearoa, one in three small business owners feel they’re working too many hours a week(1), while more than a quarter of them believe the number of hours they work per week is unsustainable(2).
Xero’s Managing Director for New Zealand & Pacific Islands, Craig Hudson (pictured) is challenging all small business owners and decision makers to find ways to work more eﬀiciently and invest in tools to improve their productivity.
“The small business economy is a major part of Aotearoa’s economy, contributing more than a quarter of GDP and accounting for 97 percent of all businesses across the country(3). When that part of our economy is humming, everyone benefits.”
“But at the moment small business leaders are telling us they are working unsustainably long hours. We also know that this isn’t due to COVID. Even before the global pandemic more than 40 percent of small business leaders were overworked.
“For many Kiwis, making the decision to become a small business owner is rooted in the ability to be their own boss and live more flexibly while following their dream. But this isn’t always the case – too many are overworked and tell us their current workload is unsustainable.”
Admin remains key productivity barrier for small business owners
One of the main pressure points for many small business owners is administrative tasks. “Three in five(4) Kiwi business owners say admin work impacts their wellbeing and passion for their work, with over half(5)of them saying admin actually gets in the way of them doing the work they enjoy,” says Hudson.
“Of course, admin is an integral part of owning and operating a small business. But we’ve got to find ways to work smarter, not harder. It’s important for Kiwis to remember the reasons they made the decision to start their own business. I’m sure administrative work wasn’t one of them.”
Hudson says digitalisation is the key to unlocking time and streamlining administrative tasks, with almost half(6) of small business owners thinking their wellbeing would be improved by making their business more productive with digital tools.
“We know digitalisation works. Our recent research report The Job Ahead: Small businesses and the global economic recovery, showed firms in Australia, New Zealand and the UK that used five or more business apps performed better than those with no apps,” says Hudson.
“In fact, businesses with five or more apps grew their sales by 4.3 percent in the year to December 2020, while those without apps saw a decline of 3.4 percent. These small businesses also returned to near net job growth across 2020 compared to firms who had no apps connected(7).
“Admin can take up too much time, getting in the way of the enjoyable aspects of work. Business digitalisation tools should be top of mind for the nation’s small business owners so they can take back time for what they love.”
When asked what was stopping them from adopting technology, Kiwi small business owners said money was the key barrier, followed by simply not knowing where to start or having the time to implement them.
“As we continue to have conversations around the links between productivity, digitalisation and wellbeing, our goal is to empower small business owners to take the first steps towards digitising their business to remember why they started their own venture in the first place,” says Hudson.
Xero has developed Why We’re In It to advise small business owners and self employed Kiwis the easy first steps they can take towards embracing wellbeing and digitising their businesses.
1. 32.7% of small business owners believe they work too many hours a week
2. 28.3% of small business owners don’t think it’s sustainable to keep working the number of hours they currently do
4. 62% of small business owners feel admin work impacts their wellbeing
5. 57.6% of small business owners dislike administrative work because it gets in the way of the aspects of work they enjoy
6. 48.9% of Kiwi small business owners believe improving their businesses productivity through digitalisation would have a positive impact on their wellbeing
7. Small businesses with five or more apps saw near net job growth across 2020, with a year-on-year decline of 1.8% – compared to firms who had no apps connected, which experienced job losses of 5.1% year on year.