Is Running a Small Business Bad for Your Health?

Research from Yorkshire Bank suggests that many small business owners are so busy looking after their business that they fail to look after themselves.

Poor work-life balance

The bank released the data in their ‘Expect More’ report. Of the 2000 small business owners surveyed, a quarter admitted sacrificing time with friends and family due to the demands of their businesses. 25% also said they’ve sacrificed their hobbies for their business, 30% admitted to sacrificing work-life balance,  and 37% have never have a full weekend off.

Many of them are simply putting in too many hours to find time for anything else. 42% said they work more than 9 hours a day, and 27% regularly work a 6 day week. With no down time to unwind or exercise, they’re sacrificing more than outside interests.

No time to live a healthy lifestyle

By city it was business owners in Manchester who proved to be the most physically active. Almost 60% of entrepreneurs in the city found the time to exercise several times a week, although Bristol (57%), Edinburgh, Glasgow and London (56%) are only slightly lagging behind.

With so many demands on their time, people running their own small businesses don’t seems to be getting chance to exercise properly for good health. Across the country as a whole, around one in five are experiencing detrimental effects on their health as a result of giving up exercise (16%) or healthy eating (20%) as they grow their business.

Getting the balance right

Group banking business director, Gavin Opperman, says work-life balance is important.

‘’The research shows the difficulties that many small business owners across the UK face and touches on some of the sacrifices they make for the success of their business, sometimes at the detriment to their own health.

“In the first wave of data released from the research, it was revealed that 75% of business owners practice mindfulness techniques to help manage their stress; while this is incredibly encouraging, making sure you look after your physical health is just as important.”

The findings he refers to revealed that 85% of business owners are stressed at some level at work, yet 58% of business owners rated themselves as happy in their day to day working lives. This may be because 75% said they use mindfulness techniques to help with their stress, while 35% use deep breathing exercises and 30% use meditation and relaxing background music.


It’s important to give time to your family, your friends and yourself to stay physically and mentally well. If your business relies on you, it puts both you and it at risk if you can’t function. Take time to reflect on the changes that you could make, and carve out some time for yourself.