Majority of SME CEOs work 60+ hours per week, yet struggle to focus on the jobs that drive real growth

The number of SMEs  in Britain is on the up, but according to a new survey by virtual PA company,, more three quarters (78%) of business owners and managers believe that their business could do better, if they were freed from the chore of everyday administration.

From payroll to diary management, there are a huge number of tasks that business managers need to handle on a daily basis; even staying on top of email can take up an inordinate amount of time, and it seems that for many these small tasks are keeping them away from the important business of growing their company. On average, CEOs are spending a whopping 20 hours per week on administrative tasks – that’s the equivalent of 16 full working weeks per year – so it’s hardly surprising that this pulls managers and CEOs away from focusing on the matters that could help their company to flourish. Out of the survey respondents, only ten per cent of CEOs stated that they didn’t view administration as having any impact at all upon the growth of their company.

Red Tape

With the majority (57%) of business owners working more than sixty hours per week, and more than half (51%) of those stating that their working hours were having a detrimental effect on their work-life balance, it seems extraordinary that so few have employed a PA to take care of the chores that are keeping them at their desks for so long. So what is it that’s preventing business owners from taking on a Personal Assistant? According to the AVirtual survey, the reasons are fairly evenly split:

• A third (32%) of survey respondents said that the cost of hiring a permanent PA was prohibitive.

• 27% said that they were deterred by the potential additional red tape – PAYE, contracts, holidays, sick pay – they had enough admin already!

• Almost one quarter (22%) of company CEOs said that they only needed admin assistance on an ad-hoc basis, so a full time PA would be a waste of resources.

• Finally, 19% of company managers said that they simply didn’t have the office space available to accommodate a Personal Assistant.

The management of resources is always going to be a difficult task as a manager or business owner. We are constantly pulled in a multitude of directions and inevitably, as our survey respondents attested to, end up doing a large amount of administrative work’ says AVirtual founder and CEO, Richard Walton. ‘It’s easy to think that doing everything yourself is the most cost-effective way to work, but you’re usually underselling yourself and if you’re able to offload the tasks that need to be done, but don’t necessarily need your personal attention, you find that you can get far more from your business.

Most business owners find themselves handling between one and three hours’ worth of admin per day,’ Walton adds. ‘While that’s perhaps not enough to justify the employment of a full time PA, a virtual PA could make life far easier, freeing up time to focus on the more important aspects of your company, and may be even letting you get home in time to read the kids a bedtime story occasionally! Our virtual PAs can take care of everything from payroll, travel arrangements, and personal administration to social media management; they’re flexible; and they don’t take up any office space – particularly handy if you work from home! Although our team of personal assistants work remotely, it’s important to us that we build a solid working relationship with all of our clients, so that we can always deliver exactly what you need.’

While PAs are ostensibly there to assist an individual member of a business, it’s also worth remembering the efficient distribution of tasks can make a company run far more smoothly, impacting upon the productivity of all staff members and ultimately contributing to the prosperity of the enterprise.

For more information on AVirtual, please visit

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