Business Leaders Strained from Pandemic Work

Adam Jacobson


October 1, 2021

A Black woman wearing a business suit sits at a desk in front of a computer. She is wearing a COVID mask, has her eyes closed, and is holding the bridge of her nose with one hand, showing exhaustion or frustration.

More than half of small-to-medium business leaders are working longer hours since the onset of the pandemic, according to Adobe’s recent study The Future of Time. Respondents from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan reported that they now work an average of 45.1 hours a week, and three out of five said that they feel the need to address customer issues outside work hours. Some of this pressure is clearly tied to economic strain from the pandemic, with 41% reporting decreased revenue in the past year, of whom 60% said, “trying to keep my business afloat has brought a lot of stress into my personal life.”

Minorities and women felt these pressures more acutely, with 64% of minority and 54% of women SMB leaders reporting stress on their personal life, versus 46% of non-minority and 44% of men business owners. More than half of the minority SMB leaders surveyed also said, “I no longer feel connected to the passions that led me to start my business or job in the first place,” compared to 38% of non-minority leaders.

Adam Jacobson is associate editor of Risk Management.