For any hardworking business owner and their staff, overtime is usually an expected part of the job. According to new research conducted by digital lender Everline and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), the extra hours being clocked up by SMEs in the UK amounts to a massive £22billion.

The leaders of more than 1,000 small businesses were questioned as part of the Everline Small Business Tracker. Four out of five said they had done overtime in the past month, with 18% averaging 60 hour working weeks.

More than half of those that usually work conventional weekday, daytime hours, said they planned to work at least one bank holiday over the next 12 months to ensure they did not get behind with their work.

The findings also suggested that older business owners work more hours than the younger generation (13 hours per day in an average week compared to nine). This means they are more likely to take responsibility for multiple tasks including marketing, administration and finance.

Are small business owners taking on too much?

Sam Alderson, Economist at Cebr, believe this new research shows how businesses could be stretching themselves too far.

He said: “While small business owners should be applauded for their dedication and hard work, it’s a shame that these qualities are being devoted to tasks such as administration rather than strategy and business development; areas that could translate into sustainable growth for the small business sector.”

Mr Alderson attributed skills shortages as a possible reason why business owners were choosing to take on a greater range of functions rather than outsourcing in certain areas.

Russell Gould, Managing Director at Everline, added: “Skills remain an issue for small businesses, and evidently working ‘9 to 5’ is a misnomer for employers who are working longer days in order to compensate for those gaps.”