Entrepreneurs reliant on spouses’ unpaid work


Entrepreneurs are reliant on the unpaid work of their spouses, according to new research which found that the husbands and wives of British business owners are working more than 230 million unpaid hours every month.


Research from Bibby Financial Services revealed that 68% of spouses regularly take part in some form of unpaid work for their partner’s business and almost 18% work five days or more a week for free.Bibby’s chief executive Edward Rimmer said:

“It is clear that having an obliging ‘other half’ who is happy to be behind the scenes can be the key to business success, particularly in these volatile economic times when recruiting an extra pair of hands can be costly and time–consuming.”

The survey also found that 41% of spouses regularly work in an unpaid administrative role, while 29% help by balancing the books. A further 46% are consulted on ideas for the business. Workwise chief executive Phil Claxton said:

“Working with your spouse can have advantages, as they are more likely to understand if you’re putting in extra hours and effort to make it a success Loyalty, stability and decreased recruitment costs can also make a big difference to a small business.”

“But sometimes it can be difficult to draw a line in the sand between business and home. Problems at work can become problems at home, and vice–versa. Work–life balance, or the lack of it, can also become an issue and it’s important that responsibilities are worked out fairly so the unpaid partner doesn’t feel taken advantage of.” he added

However, the Bibby research also revealed that not all spouses work for free, with more than a third having taken on some form of paid work for their partner’s business.

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