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Don’t time smokers’ breaks

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in Admins,Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Performance Reviews

Q I’m an office manager. We have 52 employees here. Of that population, six smoke. We allow them to take cigarette breaks, but the time they take for these breaks exceeds the time they’re allowed for breaks in a day, thus frustrating nonsmokers. This is a sensitive subject, and I want to weigh everyone’s rights. Any suggestions?

A Don’t micromanage the length of smokers’ breaks. Instead, hold each employee accountable for a certain amount of work. Give poor monthly performance reviews to those who don’t pull their weight. The smokers who take overly long breaks soon will realize they must ramp up their production or lag further behind and get increasingly negative performance reviews. Also, set up a wellness incentive program for all employees—smokers and nonsmokers alike. Smokers can receive awards for quitting and nonsmokers can earn awards for, say, exercising at a gym regularly.

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