Skip to main content


Back to school boosts small business output

21st April 2021

  • Back-to-school in England and Wales enables 26% of small business owners to resume normal working hours

  • 21% expect to see an increase in productivity

  • The government “roadmap” out of lockdown has prompted a increase in SME confidence

April 2021: More than a fifth (21%) of small businesses expect their productivity to rise as children go back to school full time.

New research also suggests that more than a quarter (26%) of businesses will be able to resume “normal working hours” without childcare demands, in a study by Enterprise Nation, commissioned by Starling Bank.

British business owners have been putting in longer hours since the schools closed, working more than four hours over the average working week.1 But with childcare and home schooling no longer on the agenda, England and Wales-based SMEs are freed up to put this time into their business.

The data also indicated that a further one in 10 anticipate an increase in working hours from their employees, with 14% of small enterprises reporting that their business will be able to “get up and running properly” as their children get back to the classroom.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown has also led to an increase in confidence: 61% of business owners believe the easing of social distancing will allow them to start planning for the future again, and more than a quarter (27%) claim the plans have increased their appetite to expand their business.

Gareth K Thomas is a foster Dad to three children. He runs Clarified, a Cardiff-based digital consultancy, which designs and builds digital strategies for small businesses: “In March 2020 I resigned myself to the fact that life would be fairly quiet until the pandemic was over. That didn’t turn out to be the case. I’ve been busier than ever juggling the changing needs of clients and new business, all while homeschooling my three foster children. My time has been stretched so thinly that I’ve even had to turn a few prospective clients away, I simply didn’t have the time to take them on. The reopening of schools has given me the opportunity to focus on my business again, I’m looking forward to it.”

Symmie Swil, Head of SME Banking at Starling commented: “More than half of our customers are parents or guardians and we’ve seen determination that they’ve demonstrated in the face of the pandemic, juggling homeschooling with work commitments. The reopening of schools offers a welcome chance for entrepreneurs to refocus their efforts on managing their businesses and seeking opportunities to grow in these unpredictable times.”

Notes to Editors


Enterprise Nation surveyed its membership of limited company owners and sole trader business leaders, between 10-19 March 2021, securing 850 online responses.


1. Respondents reported working an average of 9.329 hours a day during lockdown, equivalent to 46.64 hours per week, the average worker in the UK works 42.5 hours per week.

About Starling Bank

Starling Bank is an award-winning, fully-licensed and regulated bank built to give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past. It offers business, personal, joint, euro and dollar current accounts alongside a child card and range of lending products. Starling also provides B2B banking and payments services through its Banking-as-a-Service model based on the proprietary technology platform that it uses to power its own bank. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to a selection of third party financial services. Headquartered in London, it has offices in Southampton, Cardiff and Dublin.

About Clarified

Established in 2017, Clarified designs and develops digital strategy for freelancers, consultants, and small businesses. Based in Cardiff, the marketing consultancy provides services from customer research and analytics, to unique interface design.


Starling Bank Press Team

Camilla Ives

Tabby Haysom
07719 939 902

Apply for a Starling bank account today and enjoy app-based banking at its best.

Start your application