Do smoking breaks cause resentment from colleagues? by Catriona Cookson

A recent survey by consultancy firm Willis Towers Watson found that 53% of UK workers believe that smoking or vaping breaks during work hours leads to resentment from non-smoker colleagues. You can take a look at the full article here. Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson believes this resentment may stem from the perceived allowances that are made for smokers ie they are automatically excused.

Conversely, just over a third of non-smokers said they took regular breaks from their working activities.

I was quite surprised by this article on several levels…..firstly, I feel no envy of smokers…if they want to pop outside in the freezing cold then they’re welcome to it !! Secondly, I am sure non smokers take breaks in other ways…..some people (me!) drink lots of tea and so take breaks in a different way, some people feel the need to get up from their desk and stretch their legs, and others may need to step away from their desk to make a call. As long as it’s not the same person doing all of the above, then a bit of give and take is the best way! We all spend time away from our desks and much as I hate smoking, it seems unfair to target this group…….particularly as if you ask nicely they may put the kettle on when they’re coming back in!

On a wider note, it seems the serious message (and the common sense one ) is that we all need some regular breaks. I’m a great fan of always going outside for some fresh air at lunchtime – frankly, it’s the only way you can get to 10,000 – 12,000 steps if you’re sitting in an office and it sets you up nicely for that next cup of tea and the afternoon biscuit!

Smoking Breaks


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