The state of physical health among small freight firm owners in the UK requires urgent redress, according to recent figures.
One of the most troubling statistics concerned owners of small transport firms. 40% of said owners admitted to having a health scare since starting their business.
The research was conducted on behalf of Ultimate Finance. It was part of an effort to gauge the pressure under which owners of SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) are working in the current economic climate.
The study, carried out by research agency 3GEM, also found that:
- 48% of transport firm owners have found it difficult to make time for physical exercise.
- An additional one third of these have struggled to eat healthily since starting a business.
- An astonishing eighty four percent worry their current work/life balance is negatively impacting their health.
- 80% are concerned about the future consequences of their working habits on their health.
The Chief Operating Officer at Ultimate Finance, Steve Noble, commented: “While it is common knowledge that running your own business is stressful, we were shocked it has triggered health scares in so many entrepreneurs in the transport sector. It can be isolating spearheading a business, particularly in uncertain economic and political times and clearly the strain is taking its toll in terms of personal health and well-being. Many SMEs operating in the transport industry are simply not finding the time to eat well or exercise.
“When you consider that over five million businesses are SMEs, we could be heading towards a bit of a crisis. We need to start talking seriously about the importance of prioritising physical health. Not just for the sake of entrepreneurs’ personal health but to ensure the long-term success of their business.”
Surely the concern extends to all SME owners, and not just those running small freight firms?
The pressure of managing a small business can become hazardous to health, as has been well-documented in recent years. The effects, however, are not confined to the body.
Commenting on the study’s findings, business psychologist Robert Stewart urged industry leaders to address the issue. “Many SME owners focus on the needs of the business and their employees but fail to address their own personal needs,” he said.
“At the start of a new year, I would urge the UK’s transport industry community to take this research seriously and establish their own process for looking after themselves. This will mean taking a more honest look at the way they work. And creating boundaries and new habits of eating well and exercising.”
Psychological strain will often manifest physically. Stress, for example, can result in reduced energy, insomnia, and frequent colds and infections. Recent NHS figures showed that a fifth of all GP visits were spurred by mental concerns, such as anxiety and depression. Combined with time off work, these encumbrances can severely impair the efficient running of a business.
The research encompasses various sectors, and questioned hundreds of managing directors.