To see nothing wrong with these workplace smoking rules

(82 Posts)
doingthesplitz Thu 05-Sep-13 11:42:40

Our HR Department has introduced some new rules re smoking breaks eg No smoking break within one hour of clocking in (we are on flexi) or for half an hour before clocking out; one morning smoke break must be taken as part of your normal coffee break; smoking breaks should not last more than five minutes and should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Most of us can see where HR are coming from. There were a few staff members who were constantly disappearing for a smoke; would clock in when they arrived in work and immediately go outside for a cigarette; stand outside smoking for twenty minutes in the evening and then come in, clock out and go home; and would take a full coffee break and then immediatly go on a smoking break.

However, some of the smokers are moaning and giving out and saying 'God, next thing we'll start getting told how many times we can go to the loo' etc.
AIBU to think they should just shut up about it. At least now they might be around occasionally to answer their own phones.

limitedperiodonly Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:28

Have many people been sloping off for long fag breaks? Does no one else ever skive?

I don't like blanket rules - except for safety, of course. When I was a manager I preferred to tackle people individually but only if their behaviour really was affecting their work.

People often say they don't like confrontation, but as a manager it's your job, if not exactly to confront people, then to have awkward conversations with them from time to time.

I used to get people coming to me complaining about skiving smokers. Sometimes I'd take the opportunity to say: 'While it's on my mind. I'm grateful that you turn up on time but I'm going to have to ask you to stop disappearing to the loo for 20 minutes to do your make up or the canteen to have your breakfast every day.'

I've yet to meet the perfect employee. Including me. I don't smoke btw.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:28:17

there is no additional breaks for smokers where I work -they have to smoke in their breaks or at lunch time.
TBH I am glad as the stink as the smokers come back inside is awful

Arabesque Thu 05-Sep-13 12:32:46

True, but in many workplaces there seems to be a silent acceptance of overly long or numerous smoking breaks and it is helpful for managers to have an official policy to back them up when raising this with staff.

Personally, I would have no problem with HR Depts also making it clear that you should only clock in when you are actually ready to start work and not simply when you arrive into the building. I too have worked with people who clock in at 8.00 am every morning before disappearing to the loo to apply their make up or to the canteen to have their breakfast. I used to work with someone who used to clock in and then go and have a shower and do her face every single morning - she would then claim she had a 'day worked up' every month, allowing her to take a long weekend.

TallulahBetty Thu 05-Sep-13 12:35:26

YANBU - fag breaks aren't allowed where I work and where most people I know work.

VoiceOfRaisin Thu 05-Sep-13 12:37:34

YANBU I don't understand why any smoking breaks should be on paid time at all. It is not the same as going to the loo which is a necessity. Smoking is a choice.

I didn't realise you could have smoking breaks nowadays! When I worked it was 1 during mid morning 15 minute break. 1 during lunch hour and 1 during afternoon 15 minute break. unless it was just me and asst manager in and then we'd go as and when but I had no problems with that because we used to get the most work done out of everyone despite the fagbreaks

greenfolder Thu 05-Sep-13 12:49:58

last place i worked was flexi and had simple rules;

you always had to clock in and out for smoking breaks. you could not take them 10-12 or 2-4. everybody had to do their weeks hours before going home on friday.

it worked

shrinkingnora Thu 05-Sep-13 12:53:14

I have never worked anywhere with smoking breaks. All smoking had to be in your other breaks. This includes places that only had a lunch break. Fond memories of trying to smoke 5 fags in a 30 minutes lunch break.

ShabbyButNotChic Thu 05-Sep-13 13:39:50

Yanbu and im a smoker. I work in a school so the whole site is non smoking, if you want a smoke you have a wander down the road. Obviously this can only be done at break/lunch time. I dont see why smokers should get extra, but i would also point out that some people are just timewasters, whether they smoke or not. There used to be a teacher where i work who was famous for taking 15mins to make a coffee, leaving her nta to sort the class. Some people just take the piss.

My dad works for a large company, and goes for smoke breaks whenever he likes, but he is also an hour early every day (beat the traffic) and is fantastic at his job. So the big bosses dont care if he pops out for the odd 10mins. He has also been known to do lots of networking in the smoking shelter, at one point he even held a meeting there as all of the bosses smoke! Says it was great...like the old days smile

KellyElly Thu 05-Sep-13 14:04:44

I also think excessive coffee breaks should be banned grin. The person who takes the most breaks at my work is not even a smoker, possibly a caffeine addict though. He has a tea/coffee break at least every hour for about 10 minutes and turns the TV on in the staff canteen and watches it while he drinks his coffee!!

twistedtoffee Thu 05-Sep-13 14:16:11

I don't see their issue. They are being asked, where possible, to smoke in their own time and to keep smoking breaks during working hours as short as possible. It sounds as if they've been getting away with murder for ages and have now lost all perspective.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 14:26:11

Depends on the building. If it takes a couple of mins to get out and round to the smoking area them you're effectively banning it.

Am amazed at all the official coffee breaks! I have only had one job which had a breaks except lunch and that was15 years ago! If a company has lunch plus breaks morning and afternoon them that'sgenerous and enough to smoke IMO.

specialsubject Thu 05-Sep-13 14:38:21

company either bans stink-breaks altogether (you take drugs in your own time) or provides widely separated outdoor shelters, one smoking and one no-smoking. The smoking one should be as far as possible from the building.

all very well to let the non-smokers go out too, but if the building is surrounded by the reekers it is most unpleasant.

surprised this hasn't all gone the way of official coffee breaks.

limitedperiodonly Thu 05-Sep-13 14:47:10

Stink-breaks and reekers?

I don't smoke. Neither do I feel that hostile towards smokers.

zzzzz Thu 05-Sep-13 14:48:05

The only problem for me would have been it takes me 7 minutes to smoke a cig, add walking out and back adds a few minutes too.

I don't smoke anymore but for me this seems weirdly prescriptive. Are there similar rules for tea/coffee brewing?

luxemburgerli Thu 05-Sep-13 14:49:17

The ones moaning about it are probably the ones who are taking the piss, and leading to the rule in the first place.

I doubt all the smokers feel like that.

Dahlen Thu 05-Sep-13 14:55:04

limitedperiodonly made a very post I think. None of us are perfect and we all work at different rates. I would much prefer an employee to smoke and work hard around those breaks than employ someone who coasted all day but didn't take any smoking breaks at all.

However, I have no problem with banning smoking on-site completely. A lunch break will ordinarily be long enough for someone to go off-site to smoke, and anyone who can't go that long without one really ought to consider seeking help for an addiction that has reached unmanageable levels.

KellyElly Thu 05-Sep-13 15:35:31

7 minutes to smoke a cig shock You were a very slow smoker grin

LeoandBoosmum Thu 05-Sep-13 15:57:19

The smokers' argument is ridiculous... Going for a smoke break is not fundamental, having a wee is! Also, if a person needs the loo frequently then they can get a doctor's note to that end, whereas a smoker will be hard-pressed to find a doctor to give them a doctor's note for smoke breaks. It never ceases to amaze me how smokers get pissed off about these things. They are there to work. Why should non-smokers stay at their desks while colleagues sod off every half an hour for their nicotine fix. I don't smoke, never have, can you tell?! grin

spongebob13 Thu 05-Sep-13 16:06:53

thing is smokers are an easy target as they are seen NOT at their desk. however where I work those that smoke have a quick smoke ON their breaks as they are conscious of it and the whispers while the non smokers are physically at their desks but sipping coffee and internet browsing for half an hour. its not black and white.

but OP what you posted sounds very very reasonable.

shrinkingnora Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:02

I've worked in a school where staff had to turns blind eye to a kid who snuck out to smoke at break time because he was unteachably foul if he hadn't had any nicotine.

PresidentServalan Thu 05-Sep-13 21:48:01

I work an average of 11 hours a day (get paid for 7 of those!) - I have the type of job where it's busy when it's busy iyswim - I do sneak out for the occasional fag break (I timed it once, it is less than five minutes from leaving my desk to getting back to it. We are supposed to only smoke during lunchtimes as we have no other set breaks. I have no issue in popping outside for a few mins twice a day when my firm gets an average of an extra 2-3 days a week from me for free!

ShadowSummer Thu 05-Sep-13 21:58:45

The rules in the OP's workplace sound reasonable to me. Although I am a non-smoker anyway.

My workplace implemented similar rules a few years back because a number of heavy smokers were taking the piss with smoking breaks. So they said that smokers were only allowed one 5 min cigarette break in the morning and one in the afternoon. Plus as many as they could fit into their lunch break.

missingmumxox Thu 05-Sep-13 23:53:34

as a Smoker and one who nips out, but still I don't think these rules are unreasonable, It is aways remarked that Oh are you back already? I smoke and go only about 1/2 a fag and I do it when I am get stuck...bad habit, my job is problem solving and sometime I just get stuck, I gave up for 7 years and then I used to walk round the block which took longer, outcome the same gave me space to think.

I have worked for 3 bosses who preferred smokers as they "would bloody well organise their work so they can get off" they where all non smokers

I too have found this smokers are aware when they go off they need to be organised, non smokers don't feel bad about going for the weigh in, chat in the post rom, 15 mins in the coffee room, as above, look at bbc news on line, google, Mumsnet smile, book a holiday, text, phone family and friends.

just because you are physically at your desk doesn't mean you work more again like another poster I had a boss who used to clock his time in at work from the moment he parked in the carpark and would then read his paper? I would seehim because I would be there but droppping my children off at the nursery I would get in 20 minutes later and he claimed 1/2 every day!!

utreas Thu 05-Sep-13 23:57:28

YANBU I would ban cigarette bans totally,if you want to spend your lunch break smoking then fair enough but otherwise do it before and after work not during.

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