The new ‘fluid’ British business owner, according to new research

The new ‘fluid’ British business owner, according to new research

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has released research that shows just how far the modern entrepreneur has evolved from traditional stereotypes. Full-time business owners in the UK revealed that nearly half (47 per cent) have no fixed work hours at all, preferring a fluid workday set-up. One-third (31 per cent) of business owners also said they commit to less than 7 hours as a typical core working day, preferring to work when optimal to their businesses.

While an early start is popular, with an average clocking on time of 8.21am, burning the midnight oil is now less popular, with an average ‘clocking off time’ of 3.06pm, showing the rewards of efficient working practices. One in five of those polled (20 per cent) said they only work when they want to, while just 14 per cent stick to a traditional 9-5.

More than ever, work is about focus not location, with the average business owner not having set foot in an office for 148 days, and one in five never having done so at all. Instead, almost two-fifths (37 per cent) of entrepreneurs have taken a working holiday without telling clients, with the practice far more common amongst those aged 25-34 (48 per cent) compared to just 20 per cent of those over 55. That confidence seems linked to technology, with more than half (51 per cent) upgrading their work phone so they can operate anywhere, on their own terms. There is, however, a continuing sense of dedication, with 43 per cent of small business owners taking less holiday time, preferring to continue to work from wherever they are.

Mental and emotional wellbeing are major considerations, and there is growing sentiment that work should not be all encompassing even among business owners; 71 per cent said they put their family life ahead of their business, with 27 per cent saying the same for friends. In a sign of how much the conversation has shifted, half (49 per cent) said they prioritise their emotional health ahead of their business.

Modern entrepreneurs aren’t just trying to improve their own work/life balance though, they’re encouraging their staff to do the same. Half (49 per cent) let their employees change their working hours to fit in with their lives, a third (35 per cent) are happy to let their staff choose their working hours so long as they get the job done, and remarkably, almost a quarter (23 per cent) will let staff come in late if they’ve been out the night before. That duty of care is being taken seriously, with 36 per cent allowing their employees to take “mental health days” if needed. 

The owners detailed the biggest changes to their working lives over the last 5 years as:

  1. Flexible hours (36 per cent).
  2. Fewer or no face-to-face meeting (18 per cent).
  3. Wearing casual clothes (10 per cent).
  4. Working from anywhere (9 per cent).

The days of being deskbound are almost over, with 97 per cent of respondents performing non-work activities during the traditional “working day.” Self-care is clearly a priority, with three-quarters (74 per cent) taking time out to exercise and, almost half (47 per cent) to develop a new skill, such as learning a language. In a further uplevelling of work/life balance, respondents spend an average of 1 hour and 12 minutes on household chores, and 39 per cent spend up to 2 hours playing with their children. More unusual work-time activities include learning to knit, bathing a pet iguana, attending a football match and 46 per cent admit to getting their hair done during their office hours. Apparently far more normal is the habit of napping, with one in five (22 per cent) taking daily siestas to help them perform better.

Commenting on the research, Joe Walsh, director of B2B at Samsung UK said: “UK business owners are the backbone of our economy, and their dedication and commitment inspires me every day. This research reveals, that they are also leading the charge on transforming our preconceived ideas of how we should work. For modern entrepreneurs, work is wherever they find the right headspace. It’s all about finding new ways of working that bring more individual satisfaction and reward.

“Multi-tasking, multi-screens, multi-priorities; all are now commonplace, with a refreshed focus quality over quantity. As many of the respondents expressed, if their business can be run effectively from a beach in Greece or after picking up their kids from school, why shouldn’t it be? Technology is at the heart of this change, with the right tools empowering them to juggle what they need to do and what they want to do, without missing a beat, and driving growth.”

Serial investor and founder of 10×10 Capital, Andy Davis explains, “The stereotype of how a business owner must work and act is being rewritten. It’s now about what is most effective both personally and professionally. For me, speed is everything, so I need technology that develops alongside my workflow and is easily accessible wherever I go. My Samsung Z Fold4 has helped me grow from being a good to communicator to a great one, because it literally lets me see the big picture.”


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