Time-wasting smokers finally get their comeuppance

The company is taking new steps to even the playing field. Source: Getty Images

Wherever you’ve worked and whatever your career has been like, you’ve probably encountered at least one colleague who had to take frequent smoke breaks. And you’ve probably, at least once, wondered how much extra time your colleague is spending away from their desk to take these breaks. 

One company in Tokyo has decided to take matters into its own hands. Located on the 29th floor of an office block, Piala Inc says that each trip down to the ground floor for one cigarette can take up to 15 minutes. Fed up with the amount of time wasted this way, they’ve taken steps to even the playing field.

Now, all non-smoking staff at the company will be given an additional six days’ worth of holidays each year. It’s a bold move, and it seems it was brought about by a run-of-the-mill HR complaint.

“One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems,” a company spokesperson told The Telegraph

While some will argue that there are still some discrepancies in the figures depending on hours and days worked each week, the initiative isn’t necessarily about providing a one-for-one ratio; in the long-term it might just be an incentive for more company employees to quit smoking and adopt healthier lifestyles. 

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Tokyo is currently trialling various measures to encourage smokers to quit, including a proposal to ban smoking in public areas. These initiatives appear to be an attempt to “tidy up” the Japanese capital ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which Tokyo will be hosting.

While there has been a lot of support for such a measure, others don’t think it will work and are calling it a “PR exercise”, saying that it’s unlikely that employees will take all of their extra holidays even if they are entitled to them.

What do you think? Would you have supported a movement like this in your workplace?