The purpose of this essay is to analyze the problem of smoking in the workplace and determine the common problems and consequences connected with the problem. I have chosen the smoking in the workplace topic due to the fact that it has been on the agenda for a long time. The first part of the case study includes the brief analysis of the preferred problem, influence on the people around you and influence on the health. The final stage of the research will cover the common methods and ways of preventing smoking in the workplace and in general.
Humanity has been smoking for thousands of years already. The history of tobacco in the world begins back in B.C. Even though the negative effects of smoking have been known for centuries – the international struggle with this “sweet” poison for the better, healthy life became active only in the last century, and there is no clear evidence that the infamous "healthy lifestyle" wins. A huge army of smokers provides guaranteed profits to tobacco companies all over the world, because despite all the measures that were undertaken by public health organizations in most countries, tobacco is still the most accessible and widely abused drug. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.1 billion people smoke. As a direct consequence of this – the world looses 5.4 million people due to the diseases caused by this bad habit annually. Despite the large number of scientifically validated information about the dangers of smoking, the number of smokers in the world is increasing drastically every year. And the more active the propaganda and advertising of cigarette smoking are - the more active struggle of health and social organizations against this pernicious habit becomes. Therefore, the World Health Organization recommends that all should impose a ban on smoking in workplaces and in public buildings. The United States is active in this struggle as well, however, still far from winning the battle for healthy lifestyle. It does impose laws that prohibit smoking in public places, but only 25 states and D.C. recognize it and are smoke-free. Finally, the days when smoking in the workplace was as accepted as a common fact are gone. Concerns about smoking and discomfort caused by it to the non-smoking population have prompted most states to enact laws commonly known as clean indoor air laws that restrict smoking in the workplace. Working conditions should meet the requirements and needs of all the people working there, therefore, certain measures should be undertaken to reduce the number of smokers at work and create the best working conditions for everyone.
How bad is smoking? It is one of the worst evils of the mankind. A habit that had resulted in the local disease first of all which turned out to be epidemic and shortly after in the pandemic. Today, smoking is no longer a prerogative of the "noble dons", "aristocratic Sirs" and "generous gentlemen." Nowadays all categories of the population of the Earth of all ages and both sexes do smoke. They smoke secretly and openly, expensive tobacco and cigarette butts on the streets and at home. Tobacco smoking is terrible not only by deteriorating the smoker’s health, but imposes harmful effects on non-smokers around them. In fact, this is not an individual disease, it is social. Female smoking is one of the most tragic events of our reality. By the nature the solemn purpose of the woman is to take care of the offspring. Nowadays these standards are not recognized by the modern women. A girl does not have to be pregnant but with a cigarette is nonsense. This should not be happening at all. As a direct consequence, children begin their path to diseases even before birth. Another negative consequence of human addiction to tobacco is the so-called passive smoking. People who look after their health and do not want to undermine its addictions, forced to inhale someone else's smoke at home, on the street, at work. Passive smokers are also exposed to all the diseases characteristic for the smokers. And their health and often lives is influenced by the people around them. One billion three hundred million people, a quarter of the planet's population is marching straightly to the premature death. And every year, seven million of them make the final step. The reasons for such a large number of deaths are caused, provoked and intensified by smoking. In addition, smokers acquire not only the deadly diseases, but also slightly lighter on the consequences, but not less unpleasant. Any illness does not improve your health, it is quite on the contrary - shortens life. So what are the diseases that smokers usually suffer from? The most common are the various cancers. Sooner or later, the absolute majority of smokers turn out to be infected by cancer. And if someone did not get sick of this terrible disease, it is only because there was not enough time for the cancer to develop and someone had died because of other illness. Another common cause of death for smokers is a disease of the heart and blood vessels. Everyone has heard of such abnormalities as heart attack and stroke. The substances, contained in cigarette smoke, cause muscle spasms that put too much pressure on the walls of blood vessels. Blood flow becomes difficult, and the body is forced to increase the burden on the heart. Therefore, by simple laws of physics the blood pressure is increased. By this time the spasms have come to an end, and the vessels dilate again. From the constant contraction-expansion the loss of elasticity of vessel walls is observed, which is the main cause of heart failure, hypertension and ischemia. In addition to these terrible diseases, smokers are exposed to such "professional" diseases such as smoker's bronchitis, gastritis, skin disease ("smoker's face") and oral cavity ("smoker's tongue"), various ulcers, cataracts, and a whole "bouquet" of other malfunctions. Even such simple illness as cold, sore throat can create big problems for the smokers. Nicotine and other harmful substances that are usually found in tobacco smoke, significantly weaken the immune system. It is a well known fact that fever and other symptoms are the evidence that body fights the disease, whilst at the same time smokers, due to the weakened immune system, are exposed to such simple illnesses much longer and thus the course of treatment of the disease is more difficult. The risk of complications, often leading to death significantly higher in the situation connected with smokers. One of the most serious long-term consequences for the person’s smoking habit doctors call the degradation of the individual. Their thinking processes are slowing down and simplifying, the intellectual decline is observed, which is associated with circulatory disturbance of the brain. The mind is not developing itself, moreover, it gets destroyed. Without this we cease to be humans, we become sick animals. Many smokers from time to time consider that smoking is not in any way affects the health. It seems like nothing hurts and everything is good. But the time comes and it's misleading will be evident and the previous beliefs are delusional. And here come the days of problems and illnesses from the effects of smoking. Then you remember that day, when you have had your first cigarette and you have the feeling of regret that you should have given up smoking a long time ago. In fact, smoking is bad for our health every day and makes a huge negative impact on the health by each smoked cigarette. Therefore, smoking should be stopped and banned at all levels.
There are a lot of ways of pushing the anti-smoking rules in the workplace, starting first of all from the most radical ones - ban smoking completely in the Company. The area of companies is great, so there is a nuisance: how to get to places where you can smoke.
This is particularly in States, where everything takes place under the wave of a healthy lifestyle. Another interesting point is to make an uncomfortable place for smoking. It's one thing to smoke in the yard, on a comfortable bench. And it is quite another - standing in a room with glass walls (in front of everyone), or with at least one wall. With inadequate ventilation system. As a result smoking becomes unpleasant, moreover, the clothes of smokers smells with tobacco smoke, which in its turn is also inconvenient.
Make a place for smoking in front of the Boss’ office. One of the Companies moved the smoking place in such a way that the workers had to pass by the Office of the Director. Thus he was aware of all those people who walked by his office to smoke. The number of smokers significantly reduced after that. Moreover, restrict smoking places by special cabins for smoking in offices. So far it has been used only in Europe. The bottom line is that in this cabin there can be only 2 people at the same time. There are single versions. The purpose of this method is to limit the need of smoking and to reduce the communication during this process. As a general rule, if a person proceeds with a single function like to smoke, eat, go to the bathroom, he spends less time than in the case when a another function is involved during this process such as communication with a coworker. Another great point is to limit time on all breaks including smoking, food, and personal needs to strictly 60 minutes. Some companies have the specific magnetic key cards and the software for checking in and recording this information. All the people that are above this norm are penalized. All the breaks should be clearly controlled. Some companies believe the most effective method to control the employees is directly by the line managers, heads of departments and divisions. If an employee smokes a lot, this means that he is short on workload. Who knows the workload better than employee’s supervisor?
The previously mentioned methods are referred to as being radical, however, there is another side of the coin, which is effective also. It is based on the benefits and bonuses. For example: Bonus to the salary + 5% for:
- Not smoking at work
- For the sport lifestyle
- Lack of hospital
Granting the non-smoking employees a free subscription to the gym or pool.
It is also important to understand what motivates the management of the Company to begin the struggle against smoking?
They can also be different:
1. Personally I do not smoke and, therefore, do not understand why is it necessary for someone?
2. To raise the discipline. Make everything regulated and strict.
3. Rumors are spreading in the smoking rooms with the speed of light. And it's bad for the Company.
4. The productivity has lowered due to the fact that employees abuse the time they are getting paid for.
In this case, it turns out.
If the first course is taken, it is unlikely that any of Managers will think about the economy. The moving point is "politics." Therefore, decisions will be tough and undisputable.
If the main cause of anti-smoking mission is raising the discipline - primarily restrictive measures will suit this situation just perfectly. Moreover, the stricter control will be – the more sophisticated methods of dealing with them there will be by the staff. Thus the working team will be comprised of several groups. The first will consist of those that put the discipline on the first place and the result of their labor on the second place. The discipline will be the result of the work for them. They will abide by the rules but do not expect anything else from them.
Second group is rotary. Those who have joined the Company and leave it due to the tough "police" management techniques. Perhaps, the majority will be comprised of them. In this case there is a high risk to lose a highly skilled workers and creative professionals that are important for the Company.
And the third part consists of the opportunists that seek methods on how to cheat the system of control. By implementing the second method we see the paradox: by raising the discipline and elimination of smokers – the productivity significantly suffers. As for fighting the rumors by abolishing smoking: it is useless. Rumors circulated in the smoking-room will not disappear with the prohibition of smoking. They will just transfer into other distribution channels.
Fighting against smoking to improve productivity, in my opinion is not effective. As mentioned in the very beginning, the time that people spend on smoking will be wasted on other things if the smoking is banned. It is common for people to try to skive with the work.
That is, to improve the productivity we need to change the ratio of workers to the results of their work, not to tighten discipline, struggling with smoking and reducing the time for breaks.
In addition, sometimes there is a dilemma, for example, there are two staff members. One smokes a lot whilst being one of the most productive workers. The other does not smoke at all, and the results are somewhat average. Which one is more valuable to the company? Difficult choice arises for some executives. And it is even harder to realize that strict discipline and productivity are not directly related.
Finally, after analyzing all the ways on how to eliminate the smoking at the workplace we can come to the certain conclusions:
1. The stricter control system – the more sophisticated methods of circumvention. The more time employees will spend on something to deceive it. At the same time professional labor force leaves the Company which is in need of such employees.
2. The control system can cost companies more than the losses that it should prevent.
3. The best way to increase the efficiency of work of the employees is to primarily to motivate them to work for the result, not for the formal observance of discipline.
4. Employees will seek to maintain discipline when they work at something they are good at and what they love.
In response to the question "How to deal with smoking" in the workplace, in my opinion the best way to solve this problem is by developing a certain comprehensive system of personnel motivation according to the KPI (Key Performance indicators), where the main indicator is the result of hard work, not the amount of time spent at the workplace or at the smoking room.
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