Working as a manual labourer comes with many perks, including mental, physical and social benefits, as well as being a perfect starting point for your career in construction. 

The physical and mental benefits of manual labour

We all work differently and prefer different working environments. Some like to be in an office, others would rather be outside on their feet.

If you’re an active person that likes to solve problems with a hands-on approach, take pride in constructing physical structures that you can work on from beginning to end, and enjoy working in the great outdoors, a job as a labourer (sometimes known as a general construction operative) could be perfect for you.

Working as a labourer in construction comes with numerous physical and mental benefits, so let’s explore some.

Getting exercise

We are made to be active – and long periods of inactivity can lead to all sorts of health issues. Labourers are engaged in continuous exercise everyday, which brings great benefits to your physical and mental health.

A manual labourer job leads to your muscles becoming stronger and helps improve your overall fitness levels, increasing with time the longer you do it for. No need for the gym if you’re a labourer – you’re keeping fit and healthy while getting paid. Win, win!

Reduced stress levels

Your body releases a rush of mood-enhancing endorphins to the brain while you’re physically active, improving your ability to think clearly and causing a sharp decrease in stress levels.

Sitting down for long periods of time, such as in an office job, does not allow your body to release as many endorphins. Carrying out physical work every day helps increase overall productivity, releases these ‘feel good’ chemicals and can allow you to think more clearly – all of which are excellent ways to reduce stress.

Pride in the tangible results of your work

There are few better feelings than being able to look at a finished project and say, ‘I built that’.

All types of job can leave you feeing satisfied and proud of your work at the end of the day, but nothing quite feels quite as a good as seeing the end product of something you’ve physically made. Building a house, redecorating an office or paving the way for construction to begin gives you a great sense of accomplishment and is extremely rewarding, especially if you’re making someone else happy in the process.

Better sleep

Many people struggle to sleep because they aren’t physically tired, but this isn’t the case for those who work physically demanding jobs.

Manual workers, such as farmers and labourers, get the best night’s rest as they are physically active for most of the day. In fact, the NHS recommends carrying out 30 minutes of exercise as one of the best remedies for those who are struggling to sleep.

So, if you struggle to doze off at night and you’re looking for your next career move, a job as a labourer may be perfect for you!


How and where we work can affect how we feel about ourselves. The benefits from physical work go beyond keeping fit and trim; in fact, mastering how to complete physical tasks can build your confidence, create a sense of self-reliance and improve belief in yourself – all of which can help promote positive mental health.

As a labourer you will see the physical fruits of your labour, whether it’s a new road or refurbished building, and witnessing your own skillset improve over time will work wonders for your own character, both inside and outside of work.

What are the advantages of manual labour?

As well as providing tangible health benefits, manual labour has additional professional and personal advantages, too.

From learning new skills which can be applied anywhere in your life to great job prospects with clear progression opportunities, a job as a labourer can help you in many ways.

Learning valuable practical skills

Life as a labourer in construction is incredibly varied, from operating machinery such as excavators and dumper trucks to laying pipes and concrete.

You will pick up and hone many practical skills throughout your time as a labourer, which will not only allow you to progress your construction career, but can be put to use elsewhere too. Rather than hiring someone else to complete DIY projects around the house such as repairs and renovations, you could use the practical skills you’ve learnt to do it yourself.

Being able to repair and craft are truly valuable, practical skills that can save you money at home while boosting your professional skillset.

You’re always in demand

Labourers, and similarly manual labour-intensive professions such as groundworkers and bricklayers, are always sought after by employers. In fact, they are amongst the priority occupation areas in construction, and it is predicted tens of thousands additional labourers will be needed over the coming years to meet demand.

They all perform important roles and are essential components on the vast majority of construction sites.

Find out more about working as a general construction operative

To find out more about about what a job as a labourer involves and how to become one, click here.

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