Home > Office Mistakes > Office Mistake #3: Excessive Smoke Breaks

Office Mistake #3: Excessive Smoke Breaks

smoking monkey gorilla cigarette smoke break

I used to work for our local ice rink during the winter as a supervisor. I was about 20 years old at the time and most of the employees that worked for me were between 16 and 18 years old, so smoke breaks weren’t really an issue. I did have one woman who worked for me as a cashier who was obviously addicted to smoking cigarettes. There was one night, while I was driving the Zamboni (yes, I got to drive the Zamboni), that I noticed the line up to the cashier’s window was unusually long and there was nobody in line to get skates. After resurfacing the ice and making my way back into the building, I noticed our cashier around the side of the building, smoking a cigarette. She closed the window and took a smoke break without asking and with no regard to the growing line of customers! I ran inside, opened the window, apologized for the delay and started taking peoples’ money in exchange for admission tickets while my cashier was outside smoking. I’m sure you could imagine what happened to that cashier in the next couple weeks.

Now that I work in a more corporate style environment, we have a break policy in place, yet it’s quite lenient and I don’t have a problem with that. When I started, I was told I could take a 15 minute break before lunch and a 15 minute break after lunch. After a few months, I was invited to start playing hacky sack with some of my coworkers (pretty cool, right?), which takes place from 2:30 to 3:00. So, I stopped taking my 15 minute morning break and opted for the 30 minute “hacky break.”

What I don’t understand is the people who get to take 10 to 15 minute smoke breaks every half hour or so. It adds up to be much more than the 30 minute breaks everyone else takes. It isn’t fair to those who properly follow the break policy. I understand smoking is an addiction and when you need a smoke, you need a smoke, but should smokers be given additional privileges because they’ve forced themselves into a harmful habit? Shouldn’t there be some kind of disciplinary action for those who abuse the break policy, regardless of the reason? From a Corporate Social Responsibility standpoint, should companies put more effort into restricting smoke breaks in an attempt to help employees maintain their health? In fact, some companies actually ban smoking and the use of tobacco, even outside of the workplace.

So, what’s your opinion on this issue? Do you smoke? How often do you take smoke breaks at work? Is it frowned upon? What about those of you who don’t smoke. Have you noticed that smokers typically take more frequent breaks? Should they be permitted to do so? Or should the company step in?

Image Credit

Webpage Credit:

Break (work) – Wikipedia

Is allowing smoke breaks unfair to non-smokers? – Ask a Manager

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