Flexibility seems to be a 21st Century virtue.

In order to spend time with family and to maximize business opportunities, small business owners are flexible about work-life balance. So says a new study from Hiscox.

In fact, 51 percent of small business owners cite flexible working hours as their main way of achieving a healthy work/life balance. Another 21 percent point to scheduling time with family and friends and 11 percent leave their work at the office.

Sounds admirable. Bu the truth is the office is never far away for small business owners. Only 5 percent said they don’t work on weekends and only 3 percent keep their BlackBerry, or other mobile device, away from the bedroom and the dinner table.

"The wide range of communications channels available today means that small business owners can always be connected, and the research shows that this is how they're operating," says Kevin Kerridge, small business expert for Hiscox. "Our clients live and breathe their businesses, wherever they are and whoever they're communicating with."

Indeed, some small business owners' use of social media across their personal and business life is also blurred. While 26 percent said that they used separate business and personal accounts to avoid confusion, more than 13 percent have no separation and live their brand in everything they do. This makes sense as 8 percent of all respondents and 10 percent of micro small businesses (less than 10 employees) reported that they don't achieve a good work/life balance.

Exploring what drives small business owners offers some clues to this lack of work-life balance. The survey asked, what motivates small businesses to drive their business forward most?

  • 37% said providing financial stability for themselves and their family

  • 24% said personal ambition/recognition

  • 22% said belief in their product/service

  • 14% said desire for wealth


"These results highlight the innate drive we see in our startup clients," Kevin Kerridge says.  "Starting a small business requires a high level of commitment, and there are few times when they're not focused on their business and looking for opportunities to drive it forward."

Check out this video for some work-life balance tips: