Nearly one in three tradespeople have taken days off to focus on their mental health

Nearly one in three tradespeople (30 percent) have taken days off work over the last 18 months because of their mental health, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance. On average, these tradespeople have taken five days off, with nearly one in ten (nine percent) taking between one and two weeks to recover.

Worryingly, 34 percent say that they should have taken time off because of a mental health issue, but felt that they had to push through and work anyway.

The findings come amid a busy period for tradespeople. Almost half (49 percent) have seen an increase in their workload over the last 18 months. They are working an average of 4.8 hours more each week and almost three extra days a month (2.74).

For many, this rise in workload is leaving them exhausted. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) have experienced burnout due to being so busy, while more than four in ten (43 percent) feel increasingly stressed and anxious as a result. However, this is not the only factor contributing to mental health issues.

The study found that reasons for stress and anxiety are diverse, ranging from budgetary worries to the ongoing pandemic:

Top reasons for stress and anxiety among tradespeople

IssuePercentage of tradespeople reporting stress and anxiety as a result
Financial concerns30 percent
Threat of a Covid isolation period27 percent
Threat of Covid infection27 percent
Threat of tool theft16 percent
Legal issues16 percent
Family/domestic issues14 percent
Childcare arrangements13 percent
Supply chain issues12 percent
Issues recruiting and training new staff11 percent


Concerningly, more than one in ten tradespeople (12 percent) who are experiencing stress and anxiety haven’t taken any action to deal with it, suggesting that they may be reluctant to open up about their struggles. As well as this, more than one in three (35 percent) don’t think there’s enough awareness of mental health problems within the sector, which could be contributing to this reluctance to talk.

However, some tradespeople have turned to coping mechanisms. More than one in four (27 percent) have spoken to friends and family about their stress, while 23 percent have taken up exercise or meditation. Over a fifth (22 percent) have used a mindfulness or social media app, 20 percent have hired additional staff to help deal with workload and 17 percent have raised the issue with their boss.

Jane Morgan, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, commented: “The recent rise in tradespeople’s workload has led to stress and burnout, while financial concerns and tool theft are contributing to a general sense of anxiety. With more than a third feeling that there isn’t enough awareness of mental health among tradespeople, more needs to be done to help workers find the support they need.

“Direct Line business insurance policies come with Legal Essentials, a service which provides tradespeople with unlimited access to a team of DAS legal experts for confidential legal advice and access to a library of legal templates, tools and guides to help them run their business. The service also provides policyholders with access to a Stress Counselling Helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.”