Influencers & Profiles

Work-life balance tipping the scales the wrong way for SMEs

Melinda Oliver /

A lack of work-life balance is proving a major issue for half of small to medium business owners, new research shows.

Accounting software firm Intuit Australia has found 88% of respondents experience significant challenges in running their business, with 49% citing the balance between work and home as a key problem.

The research of more than 1000 Australian small to medium businesses found that 55% of Gen-Y respondents found the balance difficult, while 44% of the baby boomer generation were battling to manage both.

One quarter of respondents listed completing tax forms carefully to avoid fines as a key business concern, while 24% were worried about keeping on top of debtors and creditors.

A lack of flexibility to work at a pace and style that suits them was listed as a concern for 10% of respondents. Approximately 75% wanted the ability to access work files out of the office.

Rich Walker, Intuit Australia director, accountant and bookkeeper strategy, told SmartCompany this morning that the struggle of Gen-Y business owners to get their work-life balance right could be due to their constant engagement with the internet.

“An unhappy customer can now log on at any time of day and write a review that can significantly impact a small business, especially one just starting out,” says Walker. “As a result, they may feel the pressure to always stay plugged in and connected to business partners, vendors and customers in order to stay on top of an increasingly competitive landscape.”

Walker says the 10% of business owners that are concerned about a lack of work flexibility reflects that they are “wearing many hats”.

“As a result, any level of flexibility, whether that is the ability to access admin files on-the-go or enter expenses while waiting in line at the grocery store, is appreciated, as it means they have more time to spend with the people they love, doing the things they love.”

He says business owners need to consider using cloud services and mobile devices so they can work at a place and time that suits them.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring the kids because you’re able to work from your lounge room, but rather, taking advantage of the ability to work on the bus or train during your commute or in a taxi when travelling between meetings, so you can spend the time away from the office actually enjoying the time away from the office.”

Intuit Australia is running a grant scheme in August, Love Our Local Business, through which applicants could gain $1000 to put towards new technologies.

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