‘Smokos’ upset some

UP to 60 per cent of non-smoking Australian workers believe cigarette breaks result in lost productivity, according to a recent survey.

The nationwide survey by international recruitment agency Kelly Services involved 2,000 respondents and found that almost 60 per cent of non-smokers believe smoke breaks at work result in greatly decreased or decreased productivity.

Almost half of the non-smokers also said that they were either “very unhappy” or “unhappy” about ‘smoko’ breaks.

According to the survey, 11 per cent of workers admitted to taking time out for smoking breaks while at work. 

Of those who did smoke at work, 88 per cent took smoking breaks one to three times a day, 9 per cent went four to six times a day, and 3 per cent took smoking breaks more than six times a day.

Kelly Services managing director Steve Shepherd said that, given existing workplace smoking bans, things were going to get harder for smokers in the workplace.

Some organisations have started to limit the number of smoking breaks and are discouraging smokers from congregating in outdoor areas such as entrances and car parks in an effort to address the issue.

“It’s clear that the issue of smoking breaks is causing friction amongst non-smoking workers who resent the amount of time that their colleagues spend out of the immediate workplace,” Mr Shepherd said.

Some smokers, however, argue that a break makes them more productive and provides informal networking opportunities.

Among smokers, 38 per cent think smoking breaks increase their productivity, while a further 56 per cent believe it doesn’t affect their output either way.

Mr Sheperd said some smokers, particularly in white-collar positions, felt they were victims of prejudice in hiring and promotion.


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