HR's role in combating employee fatigue

03 December, 2019
By Dharshini

HR's Role In Combating Employee Fatigue

In the workplace, the amount of work is limitless. There will always be work to do - regardless of the urgency and the amount of effort and man hours required. It is no wonder that workplace stress is on the rise in Singapore.

According to a 2016 survey “Working In Asia”, conducted by Roffey Park, results found that employees in Singapore spend more hours at work as opposed to their counterparts in Hong Kong and China. Additionally, more than half of these surveyed employees have mentioned that their stress level has increased over the past six months.

With the shifting workforce to become more mobile and agile, stress levels amongst employees are likely to be compounded given that employees are now expected to be working 24/7 and even on weekends. Given that it is costly to replace a burnout employee, organisations are placing a high priority on ensuring employee retention. At the same time, HR play a crucial role in helping to manage stress levels and ensuring a work-life balance within the organisation. Here’s how HR can help to combat employee fatigue:

Understand and measure it

Before HR can come up with ways to ensure employee retention, they need to first understand what is causing employees to feel burned out at work and how to ensure that it is within acceptable levels. Some organisations identify the root cause to be work-life balance and think that they have solved the problem by providing more free lunches at work or installing more amenities within the workplace. However, truth is - there might be other factors that could help to reduce employee fatigue by compensating with a higher salary or even provide flexible work arrangements. Given that the dynamics of each organisation is different, HR should have an avenue whereby employees can voice out their opinions. Additionally, conducting regular employee engagement surveys are also a great way to measure employees’ satisfaction and stress levels at work.

Set expectations

The first step to mitigating employee stress within the workplace is to set expectations ensure that your top management are advocating it. Instead of merely focusing on the organisation’s objectives in reducing employee stress using all ways and means, HR should work closely with the line managers to advocate a work-life balance to ensure their subordinates do not feel burned out. This includes educating line managers to look out for employees with a sudden dip in performance, if employees are starting to take fewer personal time-off and monitor when employees are “on work” all the time. Likewise, HR should also keep a close eye on managers themselves and if they are leaving the office at a reasonable hour or taking vacations. If the managers are not, chances are that their subordinates are not either - this could then run the risk of both managers and employees feeling burned out.

Encourage employees to set their own boundaries

People manage stress differently. For some, managing the stress of having a heavy workload could mean doing work at a cafe in their local neighbourhood. However for others, they might feel more productive working late into the night. As such, it is imperative that HR and the organisation encourage employees to set their own boundaries and find out what works for them to manage their stress levels at work.


While there are numerous ways to mitigate employee stress, it is still inevitable depending on the nature of the work and the individual employee’s tolerance level as well. However, HR can focus on coming up with initiatives that target at employee wellness and advocating a work-life balance within the workplace. This will certainly go a long way in retaining employees in the long run.

Posted in Human Resource