More than one-third (36%) believe they could make additional revenue during the holidays if their business ran at full capacity

  • 60% of UK businesses experience same or higher levels of demand during the Christmas holiday season
  • 21% of businesses suffer because they cannot meet demand
  • 95% of business owners plan to work in some capacity between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • More than two-thirds of business owners (37%) miss children’s nativity plays and family gatherings because of extra work load

This Christmas, business owners might not be getting the break they are hoping for, as nearly two-thirds (60%) of UK businesses experience the same or increased levels of demand during the festive period, according to new research commissioned by freelancing website Upwork. The benefits to be gained from being open for business at Christmas are significant; more than one-third (36%) of businesses predict they could earn up to 50% more if they stayed open during the holiday season. 

However, business owners face the challenge of how to meet demand during the traditional holiday period when most staff take time away from the office. In fact, more than one-fifth (21%) of businesses suffer as there is less staff to get work done, and they cannot meet the demand.

In an effort to capitalise on the revenue opportunity available, 95% of business owners will work in some capacity between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This often involves taking on tasks outside of their traditional responsibilities such as customer service (44%) and administrative tasks such as scheduling (70%). For 29% of owners, work involves checking and replying to emails on their phone but another 13% will physically go into the office.

As a result, not only are UK bosses foregoing time away from the office but 37% miss out on festive family fun such as parties; traveling; spending time with loved ones; and children’s nativity plays or school parties.

Upwork SVP Rich Pearson said: “Coping with increased demand during the holidays is one of the worst things about owning your own business. With quick, easy access to talent ranging from customer support agents to search engine marketers through freelance websites like Upwork, business owners are no longer forced to choose between putting work first or leaving money on the table.”

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