Stubbing Out the Cigarette Break
30% of staff spend over an hour a day on cigarette breaks.
Management at the Tamworth headquarters of officebroker.com believe the 80-strong workforce, about a third of whom are smokers, could be more productive if staff stop nipping out for cigarette breaks.
They claim the habit not only causes the smoker to lose time from their working day but the constant movement in and out of the building also disrupts non-smoking colleagues and breaks their concentration and focus on the job in hand. There are also concerns that non-smokers may resent their smoking colleagues for the additional breaks they take to feed their addiction.
Now MD Jim Venables has taken the controversial step of banning all smoking breaks and instead he hopes to boost output by giving all smokers an electronic cigarette which they can use at their desks.
The move, which is being piloted from this week, has seen 11 employees at the company make the switch from tobacco to e-cigs, supplied by ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, who are backing the initiative.
Mr Venables said the participating workerΓÇÖs productivity will be closely monitored during the month-long pilot scheme and, if improvements are measured, he hopes to make e-cigs compulsory for all smokers on the payroll ΓÇô making the fag break a thing of the past.
He was concerned about the amount of time lost by workers taking several cigarette breaks during the working day and believes the move could work wonders for both staff productivity and morale.
Jim Venables said: ΓÇ£We work in a sales industry and productivity is key. ItΓÇÖs essential that we get the most out of our employees and have taken these innovative steps in an attempt to do so.
ΓÇ£A number of our employees are smokers and we find they leave their desk several times a day to go outside for a nicotine hit. This means time away from their desk and ultimately reduced productivity. By offering them the chance to use an e-cig they can get a nicotine fix whenever they need without having to go outside, keeping them productive and motivated throughout the day.
ΓÇ£Not only will it benefit smokers, we believe it will benefit the team as a whole, removing any accusations of smoking staff doing less work than non-smokers.ΓÇ¥
Mr Venables concluded: ΓÇ£If the trial is successful we will look to make them a mandatory requirement for all new employees who smoke and ban the fag break for good. I think most people would agree that would be a good move.ΓÇ¥
The e-cigs omit no smoke – only water vapour – and are therefore exempt from the smoking ban meaning employees can enjoy them while sat at their desk.
More than 500 smokers were recently polled by retailer ECigaretteDirect.co.uk who found that nearly one third (30%) spent over an hour on cigarette breaks each day, with many smoking up to 20 cigs during working hours.
One of the first to try the new scheme at officebroker.com, sales manager Stephen Preston, says the move could help him meet his targets.
He said: ΓÇ£Previously IΓÇÖd have about four cigarette breaks a day which means nearly a full hour away, which isnΓÇÖt ideal. IΓÇÖve found myself counting down to the next break before which ruins your concentration but now IΓÇÖm able to take a nicotine hit at my own desk whenever I need it.
ΓÇ£So far IΓÇÖve found that IΓÇÖve been able to focus longer on the task at hand ΓÇô which is positive for the company but also for me in achieving my sales targets.ΓÇ¥
Where Did This Appear?
ITV Central News