Aussie SMBs set to sacrifice holidays for extra earnings

Media Release, 18 December 2012

One in three Australian small to medium businesses (SMBs) are choosing to forgo a break this Christmas in favour of financial gain, by staying open or working longer hours according to new research by Telstra*.

A further one in four SMBs will keep their doors open every day except public holidays to gain a share of the expected $16.2 billion Australians** are predicted to shell out over the festive season.

The research by Telstra of 1,000 Australian SMBs also found 31 per cent will experience a drop in productivity over summer, yet only 16 per cent say they have initiatives in place to counteract the slump.

Telstra Executive Director, Small Business Sales and Service, John Boniciolli, said the end of the year presents a unique challenge for many SMBs as they juggle work, family and social commitments, while keeping staff momentum up and capitalising on customer opportunities. 

“With businesses gearing up for extra hours, motivating employees and maintaining productivity will be top of mind as the beaches beckon and cricket pitches fire up,” Mr Boniciolli said.

“Despite this being one of the busiest times of the year, it is possible for SMBs to achieve a work life balance during this time as Telstra’s technology and networks are continually evolving in their favour.

“Combining hip pocket technology such as smart phones and tablets with the Telstra 4G network allows businesspeople to work remotely, video conference for face to face meetings and ultimately have greater flexibility in their working arrangements.”

Mr Boniciolli said there are a number of initiatives businesses can employ to maintain business momentum during these months in addition to providing remote access.

“Flexible working hours are great for those who have kids at home during the break or are travelling; reduced office hours and time off in lieu are good incentives for attracting volunteers to work through the break. Christmas or end of year bonuses can also be used to show employees the value and appreciation for their work during this time,” he said.

Telstra’s research also found:

  • 89 per cent of SMBs see work/life balance as important but only 50 per cent actually have it
  • Businesses who use smart technology are more likely to have a better work/life balance (52 per cent) than those who don’t use smart technology (44 per cent)
  • 23 per cent of small businesses who do plan to take a break report they are nervous to do so fearing lost opportunity
  • Regional and rural SMBs are significantly more likely to stay open for Christmas or only shut down for the mandatory holidays (70 per cent) versus Metro SMBs (57 per cent)