The classic workplace quandary: should smoking breaks in the workplace be allowed?
Once an inalienable tradition, now a bone of contention. There’s no denying that smokers need their nicotine (despite the legislation of recent years, a 2014 Guardian article noted that over 18% of the UK’s adult population are still regular smokers) but given that smoking is a selection, should workers that Best Vape Pen do have more time far from their workstation than non-smoking colleagues?
The financial cost
Research published in 2014 by the British Heart Foundation discovered that four ten-minute smoke breaks per day are costing British business £8.4bn per year; or even to break it down only a little further, that £1,815 per year for each full-time smoking worker.
That’s lots of money.
The affect productivity
Of course, money isn’t the only real measure, and in terms of overall productivity, a quarrel may be made for the enhanced mental focus that follows a brief break – that moment of peace and reflection may show that a freshly-nicotined smoker is more productive compared to the colleague who hasn’t taken a break.
However, the commentary in the report shows that the exact same smoker can have been less productive before the break and the’dip’and the’boost’cancel each other out. Add to that particular the truth that smokers take more sick leave normally and the affect productivity is unquestionably in the negative.
What does what the law states say?
To start with, there’s no legal right to a smoking break and smoking in the workplaceis acceptable but only on your own official break.
The Working Time Regulations say that anybody working a shift of 6 hours or more is eligible to a 20-minute break far from the workplace but there’s no specific reference to smoking.
What’s more, enclosed spaces (i.e. anywhere inside) are needed by law to be smoke-free.
The occasions of the staff room having tar-yellow walls are long gone.
What’s a great policy to own?
It’s entirely up you being an employer whether you want to allow smoking breaks.
So long as you’re not in breach of the regulations on rest breaks generally speaking, then you can more or less do what you want on the tobacco front.
However, many businesses are reluctant to set a policy; not wanting to discover as Big Brother, constantly monitoring their workers’movements.
But any business is allowed to expect a worker to set up the full time they’re contract for and the only real breaks to which workers are entitled are those laid down in either the Regulations or their contract.
This is exactly why a short but clear smoking policy may be helpful.
If you want to allow smoking breaks then use it in writing, and state what a reasonable number and amount of breaks is in your workplace. That way, even if there is dissatisfaction, it will undoubtedly be with the policy (a bit of paper) and you’re less inclined to have conflict between smoking and non-smoking staff.
You may also utilize the policy to designate appropriate smoking zones (staff wreathed in smoke around you door rarely create a good impression on visitors) and lay down whether staff should’clock out’for a smoking break.