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Smoke That Texter: The Highs And Lows Of Unfair Work Policies


Should employees be allowed to take regular smoking breaks or answer their mobile phones in the office? An age old question, most professionals already feel locked down by, what they deem to be, restrictive work policies. Spending the majority of their daytime hours in a corporate environment, when else should they find the time to conduct their personal calls or even, yes, smoke a cigarette?

A controversial topic at the best of times, dealing with smoking and mobile phone policies at work is a part of life. Companies can’t afford to let their billable hours leak down the balcony drain while their employees obsessively puff on cigarettes, and they definitely aren’t paying their staff to go on long personal call-tirades in the middle of their business day. So what practices are acceptable?

3 Ways for Smokers and Texters to Abide by their Work Policies

Lunch Breaks: If you need to take a long phone call, your lunch break is the time to do it. Be conscious of the fact that your colleagues are probably not interested in spending their limited free time listening to you yammering on your mobile. Find a quiet spot, even if it means taking your lunch break outside of the office. Your 60 minutes of retreat can be very helpful if you put them to good use.

Mini Breaks: It isn’t uncommon for employees to take mini breaks in-between tasks. This is the perfect chance for individuals to take a smoke break. As long as you aren’t excessively leaving your desk to see to your “bad habit” (according to work policies and procedures), a five minute trip to the balcony now and then should also reset your concentration. Multi-tasking – it all comes down to multitasking.

Approach your Manager: Communicate your dilemma to your manager. If you’re a smoker, or have a legitimate need to make and take personal calls throughout your work day, talk the person who’s in charge of you. Chances are good that you’ll be able to figure out a system that is good for both of you.

Clear up any misunderstanding between yourself and your employer when it comes to either smoking or using your mobile phone during office hours. While it’s important to read through your work’s policies to make sure that you’re not overstepping any boundaries, cutting corners will not resolve your problem once you’re informed. At the end of the day, the rules will always exist – but communication can lay the groundwork for relaxed restrictions and make you a better employee.

Bella Gray is a prolific corporate blogger from her office space San Francisco. A wealth of office tips and strategies for navigating the workplace, Gray is the professional go-to-person for all your business solutions.


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