American Express survey reveals 91% of SBOs encourage a healthy
MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - It's no surprise that as a segment,
small business owners (SBOs) are challenged when it comes to separating
their work life from their personal life. However, as SBOs head into
the holiday season, the importance of encouraging work-life balance
amongst employees, and in their own lives, is strong.
The quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor reveals more than
three quarters (78%) of SBOs leverage the holiday season to
re-establish balance for themselves and their employees. As such,
leading up to the December timeframe, the majority (73%) of SBOs are
more flexible allowing employees the opportunity to participate in
seasonal activities. In fact, results reveal almost half (40%) of SBOs
close down entirely until the New Year, giving employees time off.
"It's clear that small business owners are not only recognizing the need
for work-life balance for themselves, but also for their employees, and
are using the holiday season as an opportunity for everyone involved in
their businesses to 'reset'," says Athena Varmazis, VP & General
Manger, Small Business Services, American Express Canada. "The Ebenezer
Scrooge approach to work seems to be long gone. Instead, today's SBOs
foster a balanced approach to continue to motivate employees and offer
a positive work environment."
SBOs experience guilt when disconnecting from their business
Despite work-life balance being an important issue for SBOs, they
continue to struggle with managing their desire to be available at all
times. While the majority (63%) of business owners believe they have a
healthy balance, more than half (58%) feel guilty when they take time
off. Additionally, 63 per cent of SBOs report checking their phone at
least once or twice a day when on a vacation of more than a couple of
This not only creates a strain on their personal relationships, but can
also affect their health. Nearly half (48%) of SBOs report having
suffered from work-related stress in the past year to the point it's
impacted other areas of their lives.
"One of the great characteristics of a business owner is they often view
their business as a passion rather than work," says Varmazis. "As a
result, we're seeing business owners challenged with fully
disconnecting and achieving work-life balance."
SBOs advocate for balance amongst their employees
Business owners are not only prioritizing work-life balance within their
day-to-day, but are also trying to lead by example for their employees.
While they recognize there is room for improvement, they are
implementing tactics to better encourage it amongst employees.
Two-thirds (66%) of SBOs report employees not taking all of their
allotted vacation days leads to burn-out and lower productivity. As
such, SBOs are limiting the number of vacation days employees can carry
over and reminding them throughout the year about their remaining
"Business owners are taking the time to focus on providing their staff
with the essential tools to achieve a healthy balance in their work and
personal life," says Varmazis. "They also recognize the value employees
place on flexibility and leverage it to attract and retain staff."
Additionally, over half (53%) of business owners state promoting
work-life balance within their company is a tactic they leverage to
attract new talent and keep current employees.
SBOs have a refreshed outlook on the financial state of their business
As SBOs head into the last quarter, they are displaying signs of a
renewed perspective when it comes to business growth. This quarter's
index results revealed an increase in their business outlook, returning
to a higher optimism level of this time last year. More than half (59%)
of SBOs remain hopeful about their future financial position, an
increase from last quarter (44%) as well as last year (52%).
While 46 per cent of SBOs report their business' current financial
position is improving, this number has also shown a significant
increase from November 2012 (38%). Additionally, more than one-fifth
(22%) of SBOs willing to take above average or significant risks for
their business in the next six months also increased over the past year
(November 2012, 20%) demonstrating that SBOs are showing signs of
stability for the remainder of 2013.
"Over the past quarter, we've seen a significant increase in optimism
levels amongst SBOs. As a result, SBOs feel more secure as they wrap up
the year," says Varmazis. "While Canadian business owners have been
reluctant throughout the year, they appear to have a restored and
positive attitude as they plan for the future."
About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From October 11 to November 1 Rogers Connect Market Research conducted
an online survey on behalf of American Express Small Business Services
with a sample of 633 Canadian small business owners each employing
between 2 and 100 people. The margin of error for the total sample is
+/- 3.9%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results are
representative of the entire population of small business owners
in Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business
by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located
across Canada and came from a variety of industries, including health,
social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. Due to
rounding, some results may add to over 100 per cent.
About American Express Small Business Services
American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners
and their companies. SBS supports business owners with exceptional service. We offer tailored products and services that deliver, flexibility, cash flow management and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically,
business owners can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools,
services and savings, including charge and credit cards, robust online
account management capabilities and savings on business services from
an expanded line-up of partners. To obtain more information about SBS,
visit www.amexforbusiness.ca or www.facebook.com/AmefforBusiness.
SOURCE: American Express
For further information:
For further information or a full copy of the report, please contact:
Isabella Mise, (416) 644-2293
Christina Peck, (416) 644-2295