It has always struck me as odd that workplaces don't tend to have anti-smoking policies (no smoking in the office doesn't count). For example the company I work for won't allow employees to drink on the job in
the belief that it lowers productivity (and of course it would if we drank excessively) but there is nothing to stop smokers from taking breaks whenever they feel
the urge to poison themselves. Now, I'm not advocating workplace drinking but I'm sure that I could knock back a few light beers without affecting my on the job
performance, and the same is probably true of most people. It seems strange then that smokers are permitted time off to feed their addiction while the rest of us toil away
Out of interest I kept a log of an individual coworker's smoke breaks and the time taken for each visit. I found the results interesting and think they'd make a good case for curbing or
banning smoking within work hours.
From my notes, each break took roughly 5 minutes and the guinea pig took seven such breaks in a day (basically one per hour). That's 42 minutes per day that
he is out of the office. If we take the average number of working days per month as 22 this means that he has taken 15.4 hours off or almost two full working days. As
everyone gets 20 days of annual leave I multiplied this by eleven months to get the yearly average smoke break time and came up with 21 days. Simply by smoking this
person has effectively doubled his annual leave entitlements, the catch being that 21 days of it are taken in five minutes slices).
If the smoker worked for the company for 18 years they would have lost about a year of work from him (plus any related health issues which may cause him to take further time off). Add to this the fact while he is gone there is one less staff member
on deck (I work in a tech support call centre) and you have a habit which is seriously detrimental to workplace efficiency. Much more so than a drink or two
Update: It has since been pointed out to me that not all workplaces are so relaxed regarding their accommodation of this habit. I put this to you then as a personal account only.