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Four in ten bosses ‘have sacked staff and done work themselves due to cost of living crisis’

Survey of 500 small business owners and senior managers estimated they had to wear five different “hats” every day

Alice Hughes
Tuesday 06 September 2022 00:35 BST
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Senior managers have struggled with some of their assumed duties, a poll claims
Senior managers have struggled with some of their assumed duties, a poll claims (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Four in 10 business owners and senior managers have taken on other roles within the workplace after letting staff go because of the cost of living crisis, according to a poll.

A survey of 500 small business owners and senior managers estimated they had to wear five different “hats” every day – including running finances, sales and marketing.

Others have been involved in administration (32 per cent), advertising (31 per cent) and human resources (27 per cent).

Some 61 per cent admitted they still got confused about how to do things on a day-to-day basis.

Things senior managers have struggled with included cleaning (15 per cent), operations (14 per cent) and events (14 per cent).

It also emerged the most common concerns included managing business expenses (26 per cent), staff pensions (25 per cent) and ensuring wages were fair (23 per cent).

Tax declarations, maternity and paternity schemes and health and safety reports also cause headaches for those trying to run a business.

Sharon Ellis, from Virgin Money, which commissioned the survey, said: “Running a business isn’t as straightforward as people might think.

“There are so many areas to a business from finance and accounts to HR and marketing and sales – the list goes on.

“It’s impossible to be equally skilled in all areas, but the results show many senior managers high up at businesses and even owners have dabbled in all areas to keep things going.”

The poll also found further reasons for owners and bosses taking on other roles included staff being on furlough (36 per cent), sick leave (36 per cent) or maternity leave (35 per cent).

Nearly two-thirds, or 62 per cent, said they believe it was impossible to be skilled in all areas of the business, while 38 per cent admitted they had made a significant mistake due to not being confident in a specific skill.

And while 52 per cent did not have a personal assistant, in an ideal world a helper would manage meetings (40 per cent), general administration (37 per cent) and inboxes (37 per cent).

However, some said they had hired external help to assist with technical issues (39 per cent), setting up salary systems (37 per cent) and tax declaration (33 per cent).

Nearly one-quarter of respondents admitted the day-to-day running of a business was harder than they initially expected, leaving them feeling stressed (29 per cent), tired (28 per cent) and confused (27 per cent).

A further 28 per cent had also felt overworked, with those polled, via OnePoll, typically working outside of their contracted hours four days a week. And 45 per cent did so on weekends to get everything done.

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