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Limit the loss of productivity by taking control of your employee's smoke breaks

by , 08 April 2013
'Employers often complain about the amount of lost productivity they suffer because of the frequent smoke breaks employees take,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service. But what you should know as an employer is, you can control the smoke breaks your employees take to ensure that productivity loss is kept to a minimum. Here are six ways you can do this...

If you allow smoking in the workplace, it's important you control the amount of time your employees take to smoke. If left uncontrolled, the negative effects of frequent smoking breaks by employees can be enormous.

The problem is 'employees tend to want company when they have a smoke, so typically three or four employees will congregate to smoke together and sometimes non smokers will join them. The effect of this on productivity can be major,' warns the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

Luckily, you have the power to put an end to this before it seriously affects your business.

Control the smoke breaks your employee takes in six ways

  1. 'Find a mechanism to record the amount of time a smoker spends on smoke breaks. For instance, designate specific smoking times,' advises the Loose Leaf.
  2. Ensure the smoking area isn't too far from the workplace so time isn't wasted accessing the smoking area.
  3. Limit the number of smoke breaks employees can take during working hours.
  4. Impose a smoking shift system so employees don't all smoke at the same time.
  5. Ensure the smoking area is visible, for instance, has glass partitions so you can monitor occupants of the area.
  6. Maintain discipline so employees adhere to your smoking policy. For example, hold disciplinary hearings for those employees who break the rules.

Remember, as an employer you're actually allowed to ban smoking completely in the workplace in terms of the Tobacco Products Control Act. But if you do allow smoking in your workplace, you must comply with the Act to ensure you have a legally compliant designated smoking area.

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