Do Smokers Really Take More Breaks at Work?

smoke breaksAccording to an AOL Jobs Survey, 36 percent of smokers think smokers take more breaks than non-smokers, while 59 percent of non-smokers believe that smokers take more breaks.

Are smokers really taking that many more breaks or is their break time just more obvious because they have to leave the building to light up? Many people take excessive breaks at work, but their breaks may be easy to hide from co-workers and the boss. Who among us hasn't stopped what they were doing to update their Facebook status, make a personal phone call, or even do a bit of online shopping? Perhaps while the breaks for smokers have become more obvious (gone are the days when you could close your office door and smoke away like a chimney), the outlets for non-smokers to take breaks have multiplied due to that permanent distraction called the Internet.

And who's to say that smoking breaks are all bad? Robert Gams, a salesman for a designer eyewear store in Queens, N.Y., has been able to turn his smoke breaks into a sale on a fairly regular basis. Gams strikes up conversations with passersby daily while he is out taking a smoke. If they stop and look in the store's window, he begins pitching his wares, offering to show them some frames and even manages to make a sale using this technique once a month. Over his 14 year career with the store, that has added up to a nice chunk of change for his employer.

In addition, Gams uses his smoke breaks to start conversations with neighboring shop owners and develop rapport and good will. Plus, the smoke breaks give him a mental break from the job that he believes makes him more productive when he returns to the sales floor.

If a smoke break can help some people refocus when they return to work, could the same be said for non-smokers who take a break as structured as the smoker's break? How about a five-minute meditation or stretching break? Or even a break to walk around the block a few times to clear your head?

Pat Tomasulo, anchor for WGN TV's morning news in Chicago, has some interesting ideas about smoke breaks for non-smokers. What do you think? Could everyone benefit from a work break every hour or two? What would you do if you had more breaks?

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