Every smoke break your employees take costs your business.
Ten minutes here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal, but dozens or even hundreds of your employees ducking out for regular smoke breaks could have an astronomical impact on your company’s bottom line. In fact, research conducted by Ohio State University found that each smoker can cost their employer between $2,885 and $10,125 per year depending on their position and industry. Not surprisingly, most of these costs come in the form of lost productivity and smoking-related health care expenditures. Of course running a business is about much more than money, so how can you make sure your employees stay healthy and productive?
- Enforce a smoke-free environment. This is an obvious first step in helping your employees quit smoking, as it would be hypocritical to do otherwise. Your organization can demonstrate its commitment to healthy living by clearly posting “no smoking” signage and removing all ashtrays from common areas both in and outside the building.
- Create a healthy workplace. Another part of walking the walk is building an environment that makes it easy for your employees to make healthy decisions. Simple things you can do include stocking the kitchen with nutritious snacks, switching to more natural lighting and ergonomic furniture, and participating in activities like step challenges with your staff.
- Encourage exercise breaks. Suggest that instead of going on smoke breaks, your employees take a moment to do some light exercise like stretching, walking, or jogging. If your building is close to a gym you can even get a corporate discount on passes for your employees.
- Provide smoking cessation resources. The above suggestions may not be enough to help your employees stop smoking, so you might find yourself needing to supply them with more practical tools. Be careful to not single anyone out when distributing these resources, though. Use neutral methods such as posting bulletins in public areas or sending company-wide emails containing useful links, like this one.
- Help those suffering from withdrawal. Anyone who has tried before will tell you quitting smoking is a long, difficult process. According to the National Cancer Institute, withdrawal symptoms include irritability, weight gain, anxiety, and depression. Be supportive of your employees by educating them about these possible health conditions and providing assistance where necessary.
How LifeSpeak helps people quit smoking
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Also published on Medium.