How is the imminent smoking ban affecting the HR community? What concerns has it been raising, and what are HR teams doing ahead of the 1 July deadline? Here’s a selection of your letters.
Smoking ban inspires nicotine addict to avoid ‘sordid’ future
As the sole HR person in our organisation, I had to implement the smoking policy for our company. I did my research and drew up a policy. The tricky bit was naming someone who would be responsible for implementing it.
I put my own name in and distributed the draft for board approval. They joked that it was ironic that the one person who smoked more heavily than anyone else in the company was going to implement and review the policy.
Following years of working in food manufacturing, I am used to having to smoke outside, but I started to feel that maybe I was better than that. The new regulations will mean that smoking is taken down to such a level that it has become (or will become) an almost sordid and secret thing to do.
I decided to kick the habit and set a date. I went on holiday to France for a week, came back, bought the patches and told everyone I work with that I was giving up. Each morning I fling open the door to the main office and declare that I am on ‘day three’ or whatever. I am now on ‘day seven’ feeling great, and getting major encouragement from my colleagues, family and friends.
I have had some joker put my office clock back an hour – presumably in an attempt to make me feel the day is going slower because they think I’m craving a cigarette.
It helps that our work environment is smoke-free anyway. I have got through shed-loads of work because I’m not popping outside for a cigarette on a regular basis and I am determined to keep it up. I am also determined not to become a classic ex-smoker and get all sanctimonious about it. Time will tell.
Marion Forbes, HR manager, Euro Buns
Pub wine-tasting lessons reinforce spirit of snobbery
I have just read your news story ‘Tasty training’ (Personnel Today, 29 May), and it’s heart-warming to know that the Victorian spirit of snobbery and patronisation is still thriving.
Obviously the social lepers of society have no palate for fine wines and swill lager and brown ale while they pollute the atmosphere with their cigarette smoke. No doubt the pork scratchings will have to disappear to make way for beluga crisps and truffle Hula Hoops.
From one of the lepers (who incidentally has a very good palate for single malt).
Julia Hudd, company HR adviser, Beard Swindon
Sending smokers outside just relocates the problem
My wife’s organisation in Caerphilly, Wales, introduced a no-smoking policy in the workplace (in advance of the law). But now everyone who chooses to smoke leaves the building and assembles outside the main entrance.
The building houses more than one organisation, and the smokers are all smoking in the same place. There is, therefore, a continuous array of people smoking outside the building directly under the office where my wife works.
She and her colleagues like to keep the windows open, but are now bothered by the amount of cigarette smoke filtering in through the open windows. This, they point out, will intensify in the warmer weather.
They have approached the management and expressed their concerns for their own wellbeing. After all, is that not the reason for removing smokers from buildings in the first place?
Management has a responsibility under the ‘duty of care’ to employees to provide a safe and healthy place of work, but the complaints of the non-smokers have been dismissed as frivolous.
Being cynical, I believe this may have something to do with both the manager and the health and safety officer being smokers themselves. Surely if the smoke is still affecting the possible heath and safety of the non-smokers, then the management have at the very least a moral duty to act on their behalf.
Roy Chin, chief instructor, BAMC, Cardiff International Airport
Smoking ban implemented for more time at grindstone
Most firms that ban smoking do not do so out of a caring attitude towards their staff. They do it because they think they can get more time at the coal face, and they may be scared of the PC brigade.
I am a non-smoker, and I find it close to criminal that companies are allowed to ride the gravy train to slavery. (OK, that may be too strong a word, but not far from the spirit of what I am trying to say.)
Jeremy Bell, posted on PersonnelToday.com