Research and reports
Three quarters (76%) of tradespeople say Covid-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, according to new research by small business insurance provider Simply Business.
As the almost-year-long pandemic takes its toll on the mental health of the nation, it’s clear that tradespeople of the UK have been hit particularly hard.
In the last 12 months, a third (32%) have suffered with depression, while well over half (58%) say they’ve felt stressed, and more than two in five (45%) have experienced anxiety.
Almost half (47%) of all tradespeople also say they’ve had problems with their sleep, while a quarter (25%) have suffered with low self-esteem at points in the last year. The vast majority – if not all – say that any signs of poor mental health have either been caused or made worse by the pandemic.
Unlike many industries, construction has had the green light to continue working through large periods of the pandemic – including the most recent national lockdown. Indeed, almost one in five (18%) say they’ve continued business as usual throughout.
But with one in five (17%) describing their current mental state as either bad or very bad, it’s worrying to learn that two in five (38%) tradespeople don’t feel they’re able to take time off work if experiencing poor mental health.
Following a sustained period of economic uncertainty, almost half (46%) of all tradespeople are concerned about the future of their business, while close to one in six (15%) believe there is a very real threat that they may have to permanently cease operations.
According to two thirds (66%), future lockdowns would have the biggest negative impact on business, and are the main concern for many tradespeople.
But despite the ongoing challenges, it’s encouraging to see signs of optimism among those in the trade.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, two in five (42%) are optimistic that the economy will pick up, while a further two fifths (38%) feel positive that the number of jobs and orders they’re receiving will continue to rise.
Meanwhile, one in five (22%) say they’ve managed to adapt their business in the pandemic, with well over a tenth (13%) learning new skills – both of which should have positive long-term benefits for the trades community.
With three in four reporting that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health, it’s reassuring to know that many are taking steps to improve their wellbeing.
Over half say that spending time outside and in nature (57%) and physical exercise (53%) are having a positive impact – while a further 57% are staying connected with friends and family to support their mental health.
One in five (22%) have said that gardening helps, 16% are reading, and well over a tenth (14%) are using mindfulness techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the nation’s wellbeing, and that’s especially true for self-employed tradespeople – many of whom have been instructed to continue working throughout the pandemic.
“The self-employed have been among the hardest hit from Covid-19 and those in the construction industry have faced unique challenges. The results from our latest survey show the clear impact this is having on mental health.
“Tradespeople play a huge part in the smooth running of the UK, and will be vital to our collective recovery – the news that three in four have seen their mental health negatively impacted should concern us all for a number of reasons.
“It’s pleasing to see that many are optimistic for a more positive future, and while we’re also encouraged to see tradespeople taking the time to look after their wellbeing, we believe it’s important that they have access to expert support and resources for free.
“That’s why we’ve partnered with a range of experts – from sleep specialists, to clinical psychologists – to create tailored resources for the self-employed, housed on our Better for Business wellbeing hub.”
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Data: Survey of 200 construction owners from across the UK, conducted December - January 2020
Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 800 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.
Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.
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