We’ve all been there. I know I have – forced to man the fort while the smokers head out on one of their painfully regular smoke breaks.
“Oh, you don’t smoke? Can you just watch the shop while the five of us head out for a smoke break?”
It’s enough to make you start smoking.
A Japanese company has cottoned on to the inherent unfairness in rewarding smokers at the expense of the rest of us by giving non-smokers six more days off each year – i.e. a year’s worth of smoke breaks.
Tokyo’s Piala Inc – who are based on the 29th floor – calculated the amount of lost productivity due to smoke breaks and said they wanted to incentivise good and productive behaviour.
Unlike in Australia where smokers are a dying breed, the Japanese still love their tobacco – with around one quarter of adults smoking regularly.
Rather than punishing those who did smoke by fines or other penalties, they thought they’d try and incentivise a healthier lifestyle.
Indeed, the entire idea came about in response to a message left in a company suggestion box from a non-smoking employee who complained about the double standards.
The result? More than a week off extra per year in a country renowned for its stinginess when it comes to holidays.
Given the positive response the company has received, there’s more than a fair chance the idea could spread throughout the country’s businesses.
Now to see if I can get my hours paid out retroactively for the past ten years…