The research from online lender OnDeck found that 95 per cent of owners stay in work mode on vacation, with eight in 10 checking emails daily while on holiday.
Roughly 50 per cent haven’t had a holiday in the last six months and 26 per cent haven’t had one for at least four years.
Seventy per cent of owners plan to take a holiday this year, but even then, 49 per cent expect they will keep working while on holiday.
Chief executive of OnDeck Australia Cameron Poolman said the research shone a light on the stress involved with running a business.
“SME owners are not just the backbone of their business; they have also made a significant investment in the venture, so it is not surprising that many are reluctant to step aside — even for short periods.”
However, Mr Poolman warned owners to take care of themselves because their personal health and wellbeing was linked to the success of their business.
“If the owner’s light burns out, the business will suffer. This makes it good business practice for SME owners to make time for breaks to relax and recharge,” he said.
Co-owner of RISE Health and Fitness John Fell said SME owners need to take a break to recharge in order to succeed.
“It doesn’t need to be a massive break — just taking a long weekend here and there can help owners recharge,” he said.
The long hours many SME owners devote to their business can have health impacts, Mr Fell said, and could have personal impacts.
“The energy of the owner drives the energy of the business. Having structured rules in place around turning off mobile devices and spending time investing in relationships can help SME owners avoid being constantly reactive to work,” Mr Fell said.