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


  • Almost half of tradespeople (49 per cent) have seen an increase in their workload over the last 18 months.
  • Of this group, 43 per cent feel increasingly stressed and anxious, while nearly a quarter (24 per cent) have experienced burnout.  
  •  Financial concerns (30 per cent), threat of Covid-19 isolation (27 per cent) and the risk of infection (27 per cent) are the top reasons for stress and anxiety across all tradespeople.

Nearly one in three tradespeople (30 per cent) have taken days off work, over the last 18 months, because of their mental health, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance.1 On average, these tradespeople have taken five days off, with nearly one in ten (nine per cent) taking between one and two weeks to recover.

Worryingly, 34 per cent 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 per cent) 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 per cent) have experienced burnout due to being so busy, while more than four in ten (43 per cent) 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 - Direct Line business insurance, January 2022


Percentage of tradespeople reporting stress and anxiety as a result

Financial concerns

30 per cent

Threat of a Covid isolation period

27 per cent

Threat of Covid infection

27 per cent

Threat of tool theft

16 per cent

Legal issues

16 per cent

Family/domestic issues

14 per cent

Childcare arrangements

13 per cent

Supply chain issues

12 per cent

Issues recruiting and training new staff

11 per cent

Concerningly, more than one in ten tradespeople (12 per cent) 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 per cent) 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 per cent) have spoken to friends and family about their stress, while 23 per cent have taken up exercise or meditation. Over a fifth (22 per cent) have used a mindfulness or social media app, 20 per cent have hired additional staff to help deal with workload and 17 per cent 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. 24/7 helpline in England and Wales only; advice in other jurisdictions is available 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, excluding bank holidays.

“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. This confidential telephone counselling service provides tradespeople with access to emotional support and can help with referrals to voluntary, self-help groups or professional services, as well as providing details of face-to-face counsellors in their area. Legal Essentials and the Stress Counselling Helpline are provided by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Limited”.

For more information on Legal Essentials please visit:

Further information about Direct Line business insurance's Tradesperson cover can be found here:


1) Opinium survey of 2,000 UK adults, 191 of whom were tradespeople, 25th-28th January 2022.

For further information please contact:

Direct Line Group
Unni Henry
Marketing Practitioner 
Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting