We’ve heard all the bad stuff, but we may be too hard on smok-ers.
While smoking is broadly recognized as an addiction, smokers
are not considered to have a disability and therefore they are not
protected by legislation.
On the face of it, it makes perfect sense to conclude that smok-ers
are less productive than non-smokers. That is, while they step
away from their work station, they are not tending to their reg-ular
assigned tasks. While they shiver or swelter in parking lots,
they are not imputing data, answering phones, composing emails,
repairing cylinders and picking orders. But could there be a flip
side to the habit?
What if smokers are out there thinking about work, going over
their to-do list, contemplating their next move, stepping back
and pondering better ways to do things? What if someone has
a great idea while puffing away? Think of the 1993 movie The
Firm, in which Tom Cruise plays the role of young attorney Mitch
McDeere. He joins a law firm and, as part of his orientation, his
mentor instructs him on billable time: if Mitch is in the washroom
thinking of a client, if he’s thinking of a client in the shower, if he
thinks about a client while he’s driving over to the office, he should
bill the client for it.
What we tend to forget is that there may be value in stepping
away from the daily or hourly grind and letting the mind roam.
Smokers tend to stick together and coordinate their breaks, cre-ating
informal networks within organizations. Humans are social
animals and our natural tendency is to look for a group to belong
SMOKERS TEND TO STICK TOGETHER AND CO-ORDINATE THEIR BREAKS,
CREATING INFORMAL NETWORKS WITHIN ORGANIZATIONS.
costasz / 123RF
32 ❚ NOVEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL