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Screwfix survey shows UK tradesmen are working harder than ever

Tradesmen are working longer hours than ever, willing to sacrifice holidays and weekends in a bid to squeeze more jobs in.

The average tradesman works between 41 and 50 hours a week, more than bankers (40.9 hours), medical practitioners (38.4 hours), barristers and judges (36 hours), and accountants (35.6 hours)*. A fifth of tradesmen work more than 50 hours a week, compared to the UK average of 36.4 hours**.

In addition to a long working week, tradesmen are also not taking the annual statutory holiday entitlement of 28 days (including Bank Holidays), with one in six taking fewer than 10 days’ leave each year. Just 1% take more than an hour for lunch and three quarters skip it altogether.

The research from Screwfix showed that, even when they aren’t at work, tradesmen never truly ‘clock off’ with a third spending their leisure time doing DIY and nearly half (47%) catching up on business admin.

However, there are ways tradesmen can reduce this pressure, claims Screwfix.

John Mewett, marketing director for Screwfix, comments: “We know how hard tradesmen work, but the research really brought home how many hours they are putting in each week and how stretched they really are.

“For a lot of tradesmen, time is money, and so any opportunity to squeeze in an extra job is snatched up. This can mean long working hours and driving further from home to increase their workload. However, by finding ways to work more effectively, they can cut their working hours.

“Tradesmen have told us that using technology allows them to work more efficiently, by helping them to communicate with clients, invoice jobs and buy supplies for their business.”

Screwfix’s Click & Collect service has answered this need, allowing tradesmen to browse and purchase items online or on their mobiles and pick them up from one of Screwfix’s stores just five minutes later.

John Mewett adds: “It seems that, even when they are away from work, tradesmen find it hard to switch off. More time is spent following up on business enquiries than with friends, and just one in ten find the time to play sport. Plus, with tradesmen taking responsibility for the school run as well as their day-to-day work, it’s clear to see that many are being stretched in too many directions.”

To help tradesmen fit everything in, Screwfix stores are now open seven days a week and from 7am – 8pm on weekdays. This gives customers the flexibility and convenience of dropping in when it suits them and, with more than 290 branches now open, there is always a Screwfix store nearby to stock up on the essentials.

Other findings from the research include:

58% of tradesmen take fewer than 26 holidays per year
87% of tradesmen are driving the same amount or more this year (2012 vs. 2013)
62% of tradesmen eat a packed lunch each day
Tea is the most popular drink (57% of tradesmen choose this)
8 out of 10 tradesmen skip meals while working
Average lunch break for tradesmen is 10 – 20 minutes
73% of tradesmen think they don’t take enough exercise
17% of tradesmen walk to work
83% of tradesmen are working the same hours or more this year (2012 vs. 2013)

*The Times Education Supplement 2012

** According to the Institute of Education May 2013

Source : Kingfisher PLC

27 August 2013
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