How a bank holiday has a big impact on small businesses

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After a long, cold stretch from the New Year, the weather is warming up and the calendar is a flurry of bank holidays. It’s good news for a lot of workers who welcome the extra time off to (hopefully) soak up some Spring sun. But small business owners often view the bank holiday with mixed feelings. For some, it can be a welcome break for time with their families. For others, bank holidays can cost them thousands in revenue that take months to recover. The impact a bank holiday has will often depend on the type of business and how they prepare for it ahead of time.

Why Some Businesses Welcome Them…

There are two main reasons small businesses get excited to see a bank holiday coming up on the calendar: it’s either a welcome break or a boon for their business.

Small business owners often put in a lot of extra hours to keep their business thriving. A bank holiday can give them a break. If they choose to shut the doors to their business for the bank holiday, they can recharge their own internal batteries. A day off can often help boost productivity upon their return to work.

For businesses in the hospitality and retail industries, though, staying open on a bank holiday can earn them massive profits. As many people have the day off, they are more inclined to go out to eat or do their shopping. [1] notes that many businesses see a spike before, during, and even after the bank holiday.

But the lure of big sales isn’t enough to keep a lot of small businesses open on the bank holiday. In fact, according to [2], “just 26% of businesses open their doors on bank holidays – despite 86% of the public saying they specifically use the day to shop around.” So the majority of small businesses are still choosing to close their doors and take the time off instead of cashing in.

…While Others Would Rather Do Without Them

Some small businesses feel obligated to close their doors on the bank holiday when they’d rather stay open. This is most common in the industrial and commercial sectors. While it’s not mandatory for any employer to close their doors when a bank holiday is on the calendar, it’s become a standard that a lot of employees expect. But closing those doors comes at a big cost. A Yell Business survey of 1,500 small businesses found that close on all the bank holidays in a year could cost a small business around £2,250, as reported by

Some of that cost comes from paying employees to stay home. Lucie Greenwood writes for BusinessWorks [3], “Although business owners are not legally obliged to provide paid leave on Bank Holidays, they do need to provide a minimum allocation of leave each year. Thanks to Union campaigning, Bank Holidays are no longer included within an employee’s statutory holiday leave.” So a lot of small businesses end up closing on the bank holiday to avoid paying other time off later in the year.

How to Prepare Your Small Business for a Bank Holiday

– Make sure you know when bank holidays are coming. Sit down at the beginning of the year and plan for each one.

– Take your type of business into consideration. Decide if your business is likely to be busy when others are off work.

– If you choose to keep your business open, make sure you schedule time off later in the year to avoid burn out.

– Make sure employees are clear on whether they will need to work the bank holiday or if it’s paid time off.

– Take the weather into consideration. Warmer bank holidays tend to be a boon for retail and hospitality businesses.

Knowing your business and your customer base will help you determine whether it’s in your best interest to stay open on the bank holiday. If in doubt, try it for a year or two. You’ll be able to look at your sales data and determine if it’s better to keep your doors open or take a break and enjoy a day off.

Whether you decide to stay open or take the day off, British Gas business will be hard at work ensuring your utilities are running smoothly. Visit us get more tips for your small business.




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