A significant number of entrepreneurs, approximately one-third, continue working despite being moderately ill. The primary reason for working while sick is financial, driven by the inability to afford time off. With an additional day each month dedicated to promoting well-being and maintaining work capacity, most respondents indicated they would use the time for rest or exercise.

A joint survey conducted by Ilmarinen and MYRY (The Association of Micro Entrepreneurs) sought to assess the work capacity of solo and micro-entrepreneurs.

The aim was to understand their current well-being and how they anticipated their work health and capacity would develop in the coming years. The survey was sent to Ilmarinen's entrepreneur customers and MYRY members, garnering responses from 3,931 individuals.

Entrepreneurship offers numerous benefits, yet a third of respondents reported a decrease in work capacity.

For entrepreneurs, autonomy and the ability to influence their work process were crucial for well-being. Additionally, succeeding in entrepreneurship and the financial security it provides were significant factors. Around two-thirds of respondents felt a strong or moderate level of enthusiasm, motivation, and purpose from their entrepreneurial ventures. Out of those surveyed, 10% considered their work capacity excellent, and 54% rated it as good.

However, more than a third (36%) of entrepreneurs rated their work capacity as fair or poor. One-third reported experiencing burnout and work-impairing fatigue frequently or weekly over the past year. Moreover, 26% of respondents were uncertain or did not believe they could continue their current entrepreneurial role due to health or fatigue within the next two years.

Entrepreneurs shared candid insights into changes that would impact their work capacity in the near future. Themes relating to age, transitioning out of work, and family dynamics emerged, carrying positive, negative, or neutral connotations. Negative changes encompassed health, workload, stress, YEL insurance premiums, and financial concerns.

  • "Entrepreneurs are the backbone of this country, and it's crucial for Finland how this group fares. The fact that even one-third of entrepreneurs experience a decrease in their work capacity is concerning," stated Heidi Furu, Chief Specialist and Occupational Health Physician at Ilmarinen.

One-third of solo and micro-entrepreneurs work while ill

This year, one-fifth (21%) of entrepreneurs worked an average of fewer than 30 hours per week, and one-quarter (28%) worked over 50 hours weekly. Approximately half (46%) of entrepreneurs found recuperation from work easy, whereas around one-fifth struggled with recovery often or always. A total of 15% of entrepreneurs frequently or constantly received concerned feedback from their close ones regarding their stamina.

Securing occupational health services is optional for entrepreneurs. Only 25% of solo and micro-entrepreneurs have obtained such services. Additionally, 29% have acquired private health insurance coverage. Among the respondents, 12% were unsure how to arrange for occupational health services, and 18% did not perceive a need for them. When it comes to matters of stamina, work capacity, and health, entrepreneurs relied on their personal networks and close connections for information. Preventive work well-being services were not sought by 31% of respondents until an acute need arose.

Background on the Survey:

  • 85% of respondents were solo entrepreneurs, and 12% were micro-entrepreneurs employing workers.
  • The survey targeted employer entrepreneurs with employees whose total payroll within the past 12 months was up to €175,000.
  • The survey was conducted from June 26 to July 23, 2023.
  • The health and social services sector and other service-related industries were prominently represented in the study.
  • Respondents were widely dispersed across various regions in Finland, with emphasis on Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa, and Varsinais-Suomi.