Survey: South African business owners put more time into work than life

A quarter of respondents in Sage‘s new survey have compromised personal relationships for the sake of business success. Sage polled 200 South African small business owner respondents regarding their working hours for this latest survey.

According to a global survey conducted by Sage, South African SMEs contribute nearly R530-billion (US$38-billion) to the country’s annual GDP, with worldwide SMEs contributing R115-trillion (US$8.3-trillion) to the global economy through after hours work.

The survey states 51% of South African business owners work more than 40 hours per week, while 22% of the respondents put in more than 50 hours. The average South African’s working hours per week is 40.

While business owners are putting in a lot of time, it does come at the cost of their personal lives and relationships. According to the survey, 44% of respondents choose their business over their family, while 29% have cancelled a date, and a further 45% compromise their own social life. Even with these sacrificing numbers, 29% said it was worth it.

Read more: Survey: South Africa’s Venture Capital industry is now worth a massive R2bn

The survey also indicates that many business owners are limiting much-needed time off with 26% having taken less than five days worth of leave over the past year, and 37% have compromised their own health for the sake of their business.

“We know it takes hard work and human sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life. This survey highlights the extent of that commitment. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference all over the world, and the contribution of these businesses that powers the global economy,” says Stephen Kelley, CEO of Sage, in a press release.

When asked why business owners worked such long hours, 59% responded saying it was the sense of achievement, 60% were motivated by growing their business, and 57% were in it for the money. A further 77% stated they worked outside of standard industry hours in order to make their business successful.

According to Anton van Heerden, executive VP of Sage Southern Africa, SMEs are driven by a love of what they do and the sense of achievement. “It takes hard work and human sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life, but the rewards are immense, both for the entrepreneur and his or her community,” he adds.

Read more: Survey: 96% of SA startups lack government support

Additionally when asked about their offices and paperwork conditions, 35% said more effective processes would reduce their tie in the office with 64% saying smartphone emailing is already helping. 33% say time management would also help.

Image by bark via Flickr.



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