Public holidays no break for many small business owners

And they’re off and racing! No, not the horses, I’m talking about all the small business owners who use public holidays like the Melbourne Cup – the one for the race that supposedly stops a nation – as a perfect opportunity to catch up on some loose ends.

While Australian States and other countries celebrate public holidays on differing days, for many small business owners and solo operators, it’s business as usual.

With the phone ringing a little less frequently and the external demands often being a little less demanding, it can provide some quiet time to catch up.

I surveyed a handful of business owners and got similar feedback from them all. We seem to treat some holidays differently to others.

Christmas and Easter breaks are seen as times to spend with family – no matter what your religion and Anzac Day is treated with a level of respect.

But some holidays seem to carry less significance, such as Labour Day and the Queen’s Birthday. And of course there’s the Melbourne Cup holiday, which for those based in Melbourne is one that divides the State.

Some view mid-week public holidays as ‘bonus’ workdays for catching up, whilst treating those attached to a weekend as a good opportunity for some short-term travel.

Of course, the type of business you run has a big influence. Hairdressing salons are one type of business that would be booming on Melbourne Cup Day. Businesses with international customer bases say they often find that there is no down time and few distinct holiday events at all.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that we all need a break sometimes. If you decide to work through the public holidays, and through your weekends, make sure you schedule some non-negotiable time off, preferably away from your phone and computer.

Even if you are not a person to take a punt on the Melbourne Cup, you don’t want to bet on your health.

Do you take public holidays off or work through them?