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Spouses may suffer in the recession

Many of Britain’s supportive spouses are working without pay to ensure the success of their partners’ business.

Across all sectors, these ‘unseen heroes’ contribute some 230 million unpaid hours every month.

Our recent research shows that unfortunately, owners and managers’ best intentions to spend more time with their families are often interrupted by work.

Nearly 50 per cent of spouses notice their partner working while watching TV, over a quarter see their other half catching up on paperwork while eating and a further 10 per cent have to put up with their spouse balancing the books in bed.

But more than half of business owners believe it is appropriate to spend less time with friends and family when the business demands it, compared with just 18 per cent of spouses.

In addition, 49 per cent claim spending less time with their partner is acceptable while only 14 per cent of spouses agree.

And if the sacred annual family holiday has not already been downsized, it is likely to be affected by work pressures, with four in 10 owners regarding it as acceptable not to take holidays in the pursuit of business, compared to just 12 per cent of their partners. Of those that do manage to get away, a third take work with them.

With 87 per cent of spouses let down by their partners between one and four times a year when it comes to social engagements, it is clear that the blurring of work life and family life when running your own construction business in the recession can be a source of contention.

And 54 per cent of entrepreneurs report they work six to nine hours a day when their spouses claim they work more than 10 hours a day.

That said, it is important to try and achieve a sense of balance when it comes to drawing the line between work and personal life. While being in business is tougher than ever, it’s impossible to put a price on health or time with the family.

Jason Heath is a construction finance specialist at Bibby Financial Services

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