Thousands of UK executives have admitted to logging on to the internet in the middle of the night after waking up in a cold sweat worrying about work.
According to research commissioned by business portal Work24, business executives regularly wake up in the middle of the night in a panic about work-related issues. As many as one in five bosses said they end up logging on to the internet in the small hours to check on work in an effort to calm their fears.
The survey was based on 500 telephone interviews with owners and managing directors of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. Benchmark conducted the research in June.
The survey showed that the 2am panic attack is becoming increasingly common as business people, particularly among the UK's small business community, lose sleep over their work.
The pressure to stay ahead is one of the reasons why as many as 20 per cent of the small and medium-sized business market workforce has suffered from a stress-related illness in the past year, the survey said. More than half of those affected choose to ignore the problem, and admit that their family and relationships have suffered due to work.
The UK's small businesses are working an average of 55 hours a week - seven hours more than recommendations set out by the European Commission's Working Week directive. One in 10 admit to working in excess of 65 hours a week.
However, 58 per cent said they would like to spend more time with their family.
Steve Ross, chief executive of Work24, said: "It is very alarming to discover that so many entrepreneurs lie awake at night worrying about their business. Pressure to succeed is felt most among the people who have invested their lives and livelihoods in their business."
Work24 has launched a series of services aimed at helping these businesses use the internet to carry out simple tasks such as meetings and ebanking.
"Our aim is to make life as easy as possible for these people," said Ross. "The solution is to work smartly and use the internet to eliminate the tasks that are time intensive."
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