Full disclosure: For a nonsmoker, I have taken a lot of smoking breaks. This is mostly because I once had a job where I worked with a close friend who was a smoker and I couldn’t resist this acceptable way of taking mini-vacations throughout the day for a quick chat with her. Sure, these “vacations” took place huddled behind a dumpster on the side of a cafeteria where we were blasted with cooking fumes, but at least they were a little respite from the workday.
Turns out, at least one company has caught on to how these short breaks can add up to major time off over the course of a year. Piala Inc., a marketing firm in Japan — known for exceptionally high smoking rates — is now giving nonsmoking employees an extra six days of time off each year to make up for the smoking breaks their colleagues regularly take. This happened after an employee submitted a complaint about how smoking affects productivity.
Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for Piala Inc., told The Telegraph, “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.”
Furthermore, the company’s CEO, Takao Asuka, told Kyodo News that he hopes it will prompt those employees who do smoke to quit, saying he hopes “to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion.”
And it appears to be working. So far, four of the company’s 42 employees who smoke have already reportedly quit.