mercredi 12 octobre 2011

Smoking causes less productivity

According to a French report, the 2006 decree concerning the interdiction to smoke in public places caused several extra costs for firms and in particular for managers.
Indeed, daily cigarette breaks led to a decrease of productivity. The pulmonologist Bernard Dautzenberg, chairman of the OFT (French Organism for the prevention of the addiction to smoking), explained people can spend 80 minutes a week to smoke during working hours. According to the report, a smoking worker would represent an additional cost of €2500 to €5000 a year!

The management has to make in order to solve that problem

Some companies try to put an end to this by proposing cures of weaning (€600 per employee for a cure). Some others, rather than trying to make people stop smoking, fit out sort of smoking spaces next in dirty places to dissuade them.
Besides, many companies are afraid of the negative influence smokers in front of the building can have on its image. As an instance, Sanofi’s workers are not allowed to smoke in front of the head office.
However, it is difficult for firms to manage this addiction because executives and directors smoke, which reduce their credibility. Yet, the implication of top level managers could be very helpful to fix the problem. For example, the director of UNESCO used to smoke a lot; after the decree, she went to consultation and was one of the first to stop.
Prof. Dauntzenberg observed that 64% of smokers did smoke at work when the boss was a smoker too, while 51% of them when the boss didn’t.
Also, workers who do not smoke can feel frustrated for smoking breaks are sometimes an opportunity to meet high level executives or the boss, or the human resource manager, and get elements (e.g: vacancies) that others cannot know. This could be responsible for conflicts in the company, since no-smoking workers feel rejected from informal conversations, or be forced to stay longer at work because others take too many breaks.
This risk has to be considered by managers otherwise it would decrease everyone’s efficiency.
The article talked about Christophe Schmaltz, a consultant specialized in the management of conflicts, who think these conflicts around the cigarette matter can be dangerous for the cohesion of the team and point out a deep malaise.

Comment: According to us, this problem has to be considered as a serious one. Due to the evolution of the law, managers have to face new problems, and try to adapt in order to satisfy everyone’s needs and avoid employees to feel uncomfortable at work. Through this article, we saw the influence high level executives and directors can have on the employees to change their attitude and habits.
Insofar as it can be harmful for the team, managers have to try to find a solution in order to avoid conflicts. One of the appropriate solutions would be to monitor cigarette breaks, by scheduling them and defining a certain duration, which can be taken by non smokers as a simple break.

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