Should employers monitor rest time and tiredness at work?

Posted on 12th June 2019

We have all heard of the saying “burning the candle at both ends” …  As an employer it is important to remember that hard work doesn’t start and end at work. We all have extremely busy lives. A piece of research conducted in September 2018, found that 46% of employees regularly turned up to their jobs feeling too tired to work. If you are an employer, you should be monitoring rest time and tiredness at work. As the saying goes “What you permit, you promote”. If you are a manager of employees, take breaks yourself otherwise you are providing an unhealthy image of what’s expected.

Tiredness can affect people in different ways and employers should consider this fact. Rest time is importance during the working day and in line with the Working Time Directive this is a must. Employees who work more than 6 hours a day have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break. It is important that it is monitored as it could, in the long run, have an effect on the persons health and wellbeing (even if they can’t see it coming). So as much as you can, give ample opportunity for the rest break and keep on top of it.

If you do notice consistent tiredness and lack of rest breaks being taken, ensure to meet with the employee; your duty of care as their employer is to let them know of the trends you have noticed and advise that you wish for them to take the rest breaks as outlined in their contract of employment.

Tiredness at work can also pose a health and safety risk, both to the individual and their colleagues. There are specific rules around daily and weekly rest time which should also be explored. There are some exemptions and compensatory rest which should be taken into consideration for certain areas of work/instances.

Assuming you’re doing everything you can in relation to the rules around breaks, there are other areas that can be considered to help decrease fatigue whilst at work. Here’s just a few:

  • Turn up those lights – dim, moody lighting is something that can be enjoyed at home… on the sofa… in the lead up to a nap!
  • Encourage employees to get out in the daylight – sunlight aids production of vitamin D which helps with the body’s immune system, not to mention its growth and development.
  • Turn down the heating – I know there are rules and regulations around the workplace being certain temperatures, however that doesn’t mean the environment should be as hot as the surface of the sun.
  • Switch it up – certain tasks can be monotonous and repetitive, so ensure your employees are switching some tasks around.
  • Where possible, decrease loud noises – “SORRY??? YOU SAID WHAT??!”

Loud noises can increase fatigue, so decreasing loud noises or ensuring people get a break from them is important.

Hopefully this blog has highlighted the importance of monitoring rest breaks and tiredness at work, whilst giving you some practical ideas along the way to decrease fatigue. To discuss this further you can contact us on 01536 215240 or email

Charlotte Batchelor Character
Written by:
Charlotte Batchelor
HR Adviser