Should smokers have more breaks than their non-smoking colleagues?

It’s now hard to imagine a time when people lit up cigarettes in the office, in restaurants and on public transport. But this was the reality just 10 years ago.

It has now been a decade since the smoking ban came into effect, but what impact has the ban had in the workplace?

Well, a survey by Vapourlites.com has recently revealed that two thirds (66%) of non-smoking office workers believe it is unfair that their smoking colleagues have ‘additional’ breaks throughout the day.

Of those who don’t smoke, 58% said they feel smokers who pop out during normal working hours should ‘clock’ or ‘record’ their smoking breaks, and 44% find smoking breaks to be ‘disruptive’, especially when working in teams.

Perhaps it’s not that surprising that non-smoking workers are feeling disgruntled, as Insider.co.uk revealed that a British Heart Foundation study found smokers take up to four breaks a day for an average of 10 minutes each. That equates to over 3 hours a week.

What does the law say?

According to UK public health laws, enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces and public places must be smoke-free zones, and smokers at work have to go outside.

Whilst we recognise that employers should be encouraging their employees to quit their habit on health grounds, there will always be those who choose to smoke – not to mention those who smoke e-cigarettes, which are currently not covered by the ban.

What’s the current situation at your place of work? Do you have a designated area outside for smokers that protects them from the elements? And if you have provided a space for smokers, have their non-smoking counterparts got the same break-away space so they can easily spend some time away from their desks?

These chill-out areas may result in more staff taking breaks throughout the day but, as Workplace Safety Advice discusses, numerous studies have concluded that more breaks make workers more productive, not less.

Whatever design dilemma you’re trying to overcome, why not talk to the professionals at Kerr Office Group today?