Have you ever been irritated by the number of smoke breaks that your co-workers take? Sometimes it seems like smokers get to satisfy their nicotine craving whenever they want, but non-smokers are stuck indoors and don’t get to enjoy that same luxury.
Of course, we know that nicotine addiction is not a luxury and that cigarettes are hugely dangerous. Many smokers do want to quit (and have tried several or even hundreds of times). Still, even with that knowledge, all those extra breaks can still feel unfair to non-smoking employees.
That is why Tokyo-based company Piala Inc. is now offering non-smokers extra days off in compensation for all the time they spend working while their other co-workers are out enjoying a smoke.
The plan started when an employee put a complaint in the company suggestion box. The employee pointed out that smoke breaks detract from productivity and leave non-smoking workers forced to pick up the slack.
“Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate,” company spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima told The Telegraph.
The smoke break habit is especially problematic as Piala Inc. is located on the 29th floor. So anytime an employee wants to smoke, they have to wait for the elevator and go all the way down. After they finish their cigarette, they must then wait for the elevator and come all the way back up. All told, it takes about 15 minutes for an employee to enjoy a smoke — and that can add up if a person takes numerous smoke breaks a day!
Rather than punish the smokers, the CEO of the company, Takao Asuka, is taking a different route. He says, “I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion.”
To do so, Asuka is giving those employees who do not take smoke breaks an extra six days of paid vacation time each year. And the incentive already seems to be working — as a result, four people have actually quit smoking thus far.
Asuka is hopeful that number will continue to climb. It’s a win-win for everyone: Cleaner air, higher productivity, extra vacation days and, most importantly, improved health and longevity!
What do you think of this company’s decision? Is it a good idea? Does it make light of a real addiction?
Written by Bridget Sharkey for Don’t Waste Your Money.