To encourage its employees to stop smoking, a British company decided to reward those who had stopped smoking for at least a year by offering them 4 extra days off.
This is an original and benevolent business initiative that can be replicated. Instead of punishing its 11 smoking employees, UK recruitment company KCJ Training and Employment decided to motivate them to stop smoking for good… by offering them 4 extra days off.
“Don Bryden, the head of the company, who is a smoker, told the Recruitment website “I told the employees what I was going to do. Those who don’t take a smoking break get four extra days off a year… I prefer to reward non-smokers and encourage smokers to quit because a healthier workplace is a happier workplace,” he said.
An idea that is generally welcomed
According to Don Bryden, his employees, both smokers and non-smokers, have “warmly welcomed” his idea. Some would have said that “it’s a fantastic idea”. However, one of his co-workers has objected to the fact that it “discriminates against smokers”. “The fact that smokers start smoking discriminates against non-smokers,” says the British boss. It’s a sign that this method would work: one in two employees have already quit or are about to give up smoking.
In his interview with Recruiter, Don Bryden urges UK employers to follow his example, but warns them that it is up to them to decide how many days off equals quitting smoking in their company, as smoking breaks are not always as long and frequent for all employees. “I think we need to think about what fair compensation is. This is where every company needs to make a careful assessment of its business.
Smoking breaks, a thorn in the side of business
KCJ Training and Employment is not the only company that has offered its employees extra days off in exchange for quitting smoking. In 2017, Piala Inc. in Japan had already rewarded its non-smoking employees by giving them more time off. The hidden agenda? To encourage them to give up their smoking breaks, which reduce the company’s performance (and therefore profits). “It is true that the offices are on the 29th floor, and smokers have no choice but to go to the basement to smoke their cigarettes. The boss found the right proposal, and gave non-smokers extra time to compensate,” one company employee told Telegraph.
According to a study conducted by the CSA Health Institute in June 2009, employees who smoke can in fact be “less productive, less focused on work, more at risk on the road and more likely to get sick” than non-smokers.