Ash Mathew
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Dear Seniors,

I need your advise, I am facing problem with smoking habbits of our many employees;

How many cigarette breaks are too many cigarette breaks in an eight-hour workday?

I think we need a smoke break policy of some kind, if only to keep productivity up. (Maybe we could even keep health care costs down!) Do any readers have such a policy?

What unforeseen issues might come up if we crack down?



From Saudi Arabia
Many companies have employees who smoke, and many companies allow employees to take some sort of break or breaks during the workday. The question often arises whether employees who smoke must be given extra breaks. Some employers even wonder whether smoking is a protected disability that must be accommodated under the Act. The answer to both questions is "no".

Employers in the vast majority of situations do not have to give breaks during the day, so if a company does allow breaks, it can put whatever strings it wants to on those breaks. That includes limits on how long the breaks can be, how many breaks occur during the day, and where the breaks can or cannot be taken. Thus, if an employee is normally allowed two breaks per eight-hour shift, the employer can legally deny any extra breaks for smoking.
Pankaj Chandan

From India, New delhi
Dear Pankaj Thanks,
We have smoking chember in office to our staff because many female staff also work therefore to avoid health hazard to female employee one seperate room is allotted to gents for smokers becasue our majority of staff is youth and smokers as well as workoholic too. Due to their constant workoholic nature they smoke lot and we find that yeild good results also as this smoking breaks are helpful. Otherwise they cannot concentrate on work.
But we are afraid of frequency of smokiing that is why I am interested to restrict their smoking percentage.

From Saudi Arabia
Two official permitted smoke breaks are more then enough because they can also smoke during lunch timing (before or after lunch). By this means they are free to smoke 3 to 4 times during 8 hours working shift. On an average smoke after two hours is not less during the 8 hrs. working day. If you increase it to 6-8 times then I am sure that no body will concentrate on work and you will have jumble up gathering.


Pankaj Chandan

From India, New delhi

U sure are a 21 Century HR professional,, if you feel the employees are productive then obviously you should allow them to smoke since smoking increase their productivity level,,

Then I feel that a smoking of 10 minutes will not be a problem, but if you are ready to change your mindset about smoking you can issue a strict policy of smoking that smoking is alowed only official tea, and lunch break times, so a company normally has two tea breaks and one lunch break so an employee during the 8 hours schedule can smoke many times, for eg here is the flowchart or frequency chart for your kind information,,,

Before start of office,,..$$. Two hours ..$$ Tea Break .... Two hours ..$$ Lunch Break....

after lunch for two hours, $$then one tea break again,,, and then after two hours $$ end of office,,,

so if u dont understand just see wherever I put $$ symbol that is the time when the employees can smoke so in one day an employee can smoke 5 times and I think that anyperson can hold his desire to smoke for two hours atleast,,, :-P:-P:-P

so 21 century HR hope you understood my point,,

From India, Pune
Hi Ravi,
You provided mechanical solution. But there is no fix time when employees have instinct to smoke with some kind of time table its mood of employee that determines when he will smoke.
If we ask to smoke for particular time then they will wait until time comes and by that time their mood gets off and that mey not work to extract their efficiency. Although we do not encourage smoking but we also do not violate employees fumdamental right to smoke.
Because we respect each employee and their dignity as well as self respect. As 20th century HR we don't treat employees as slaves but treat them as human being. This is our 21st century HR practice.

From Saudi Arabia
Well Abraham,

I understand ur point when u say "its after all productivity we are looking at"

But dont you think the company is encouraging them to a bad habit?
Smoking leads to cancer and heart diseases.

When I was thinkin over ur question - I realized that you wanted to reduce the smoking frequency and this shuld also not interrupt the work productivity.
But let me tell u - when u try stopping a habit - all of a sudden, u r tempted to follow it much more aggressively even without ur own control. I guess the message can be communicated by showing it as a concern by the mangement on Employee's health condition.
- Try sending frequent emails on heath care and concern. Maily on the negative sides of smoking. A little bit of relief of mind is what the smoker is looking at - but that is at the cost of risking ones own life.

- Why dont you have a refershment zone that has more healthy fresh fruit juices and other good nutritious food (u may laugh at this - but this is becos, you are making the employees think that the company is really worried abt the health and not the time that is spent in smoking)

- Again - you could have a Game Zone (a few companies have these, esp IT companies)
In this u can have games like carroms, chess, or something that can be accomodated internally (indoor games). I also suggest Video games.
Hope u dont laugh at these..but nothing can be more refreshing than an intersting game, and that relieves the stress much better.

Abraham.... I dont know if u would agree, but many Men out there are addicted to Video games - jus like being addicted to smoking.

When we try to make someone stop a habit - they unknowingly feel tempted to over indulge in that activity.... but when u divert their attention to another intersting thing - they unknowingly give up the previous habit :-)

And if u having worries on they using the game zone, they can have one hour allotted to using that. And set a policy stating that - atleast 7.5 (or 8 hrs) hrs of work is compulsory. - this 7.5 / 8 hrs does not accomodate time spent in lunch breaks/game zone/ smoke zone.

I know I diverted..but we need some more thinking to make it look like an intersting activity compared to smoking. I guess . . . some more contribution from senior HRS shuld help.

From India, Madras
Dear ASh,
I did organised many programms on quitting smoking inhouse with outside experts. Some did got success in quitting but they altimately gain weight and become overweight as after quitting they started eating more and specially eating chocklets they become fat and bulky.
Now, everyone is afraid of quiting and I also left this up to individual but do want to reduce their smoking by controlling habbits. These sample Fatty Staff is hinderance to my venture...

From Saudi Arabia
Hi Abraham....
Let them not quit immediately.
They can just smoke one or two cigars a day to reduce the feeling of being tempted. This will gradually reduce.
Imagine - if today u see a picture of an accident - a very bad accident and the injured person has no hopes of getting back to life, wont you think while driving/riding tonight and try being safe? Same with smoking - send images that shows the ill effects of smoking, and if this is done frequently, they will have a fear within them that makes them reduce the intake. (Still we can try - let the fat staff don bother u cos now they are out of smoking, u wil have to be ready for another session with them to help them reap benefits from excercising)
Chocolates are not a sure way to cope with that - but healthy nutritious and tasty food (and the availability of the same can help).
Try the Game Zone.:idea: :idea: :idea: (its worth a try - u have no clue on how successful this can become) :-D

From India, Madras
I am totally agree with ASHA.
For any bad thing may be a habit / situation etc. we always think abt a negative effect on that.
But this is a time to think abt a positive changes , benifts etc becoz, for everything has a good & bad parts.
So why we think / divert only in easiest way to sort a prob.
HR - means you are responsible for a living thing mgmt. and its not soeasy as handle to non-living one.
So guys just hold a moment & think of that, you have a very big responsibility on your heads.
So don't think for cut a breaks just find out a way that solve your purpose as well as employee feels g8.

From India, Delhi

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