How many hours do you work? If new research by business information portal Check Business is anything to go by, it would seem the traditional 9 to 5 model has been reversed and that the UK’s busiest SME leaders are instead working from 5 to 9.

Now the summer is underway and evenings are lighter, the hardest working small businesses are following the sun and clocking up more hours in order to stay afloat and grow.

After analysing information from more than 100,000 small firms using Check Business, it was found that 14 hour shifts and working into the weekend were very much part and parcel when running a company.

Clocking off at 5pm is ‘a luxury’

Conrad Ford, founder of Check Business, believes this research will not be a surprise for SMEs. He said: “Clocking off at 5pm is a luxury and in the current economy a small business can’t afford many luxuries.

“Monday to Friday, 9-5, is all about keeping the business running. Evenings and weekends are reserved for research, reflection, and strategy.

“As a business owner myself, I can’t afford teams of people to do this for me, or to do my day job. So once my day job finishes I start my ‘night shift’ to make sure the business stays on track and keeps growing.”

Statistics show that the traditional 9 to 5 work model is not realistic for business owners to stick to. Around 45% of small business owners use their own time outside of work for research and reflection, including activities such as looking up new clients and suppliers and checking credit scores.

They are busiest on weekends after 6pm, particularly on Sunday evening in preparation for the week ahead. Family and leisure time often takes a back seat as a result of the long working hours and ongoing pressures.

“When you’re running a business you never really switch off”, added Mr Ford.

“You’re always thinking about work. Sunday evening after the kids are in bed is the time I spend getting ready for the week. Like many business owners, I can’t really relax unless I know everything is set up for Monday morning.”