John Timpson, chief executive Timpson Ltd, the UK’s leading chain of shoe repairers and key cutters, has the answer:
A: It all depends on the colleague. I know that the HR department says you must treat everyone the same – but you and I know that is simply not realistic.
You would prefer your superstars to be non-smokers (you are keen to see them stay fit and healthy) but you are not going to risk them looking for a job elsewhere because you ban them from having a quick fag by the back door.
On the other hand if the guy who is always away from his desk is the office drongo you will take a different view!
Some claim they have some fruitful business related discussions with their fellow colleague smokers while they puff away together in our shelter. And there is no doubt a strong bond of fellowship can be established within the addicted minority (I know of two marriages created between couples who met because they both couldn’t miss a smoke break).
But, to be fair to the vast majority that gave up smoking years ago, you need some guidelines. One break in the morning and another in the afternoon should be enough nicotine to keep most addicts topped up. More frequent trips to the smoking zone should lead to a quiet word or even a warning – especially if the culprit is a drongo!