The Breaks at work and their Costs

It is quite difficult to manage human resource of any organisation as they play a vital role in the success of any business but controlling the costs that are related to employees is something hectic and you would have to point out and eliminate all the waste activities that add up in the cost and breaks by the employees has its own cost to business. Inn supplies, paper cup and disposable catering specialist, explains the impact of such cost:

The regulations

We need to check out the legitimate period for which an employee is allowed to take a break at work so if an employee works for more than 6 hours in a day, he should be allowed to take a break of 20 minutes uninterrupted. Workers who smoke, they are entitled to cigarette breaks whereas, young workers who fall in the age range of 16 to 18, if they work 4.5 hours or more a day then they are allowed to take a 30 minute break.

The reality

When we talk about breaks at work, it does not include the entitled period only, but includes the time that gets consumed when an employee goes to toilet or has a cup of tea at work. All these breaks have a cost and we break it down for you:

Tea breaks

Britain is a nation of tea lovers. At work, we spend approximately 24 minutes each day brewing up—that’s 188 days and 21 hours over the course of an individual’s working life. In terms of lost time, this equates to around £400 per employee per year, assuming an average wage of £26,000. However, those on higher wages will cost your business more every time they make a cuppa.

This only considers lost time though — many employers also foot the bill for the tea, coffee, milk and sugar, costing them even more over the course of the year. Of course, this cost varies by a number of factors, including location and company size.

Research by Epiphany has found that there’s a whopping 21p difference between making a brew in London (the most expensive at 69p) and brewing up in Hull (the cheapest at 48p).

Almost 50% of workers drink four or more cups a day, while 33% drink between one and three and just 20% don’t drink any. Using the above costs and percentages, a business in Hull with 50 employees can expect to fork out £64.32 a day on tea and coffee supplies.* In London, this figure is even higher at £92.46 per day.

Smoking breaks

How much impact do smokers have on your business costs? According to research for the British Heart Foundation, each full-time member of staff who smokes at work cost their employer £1,815 a year.

Considering one in five British workers smoke, a 50-strong business could have around 10 smokers — costing £18,150 in lost time annually.

However, it’s not just their cigarette breaks that you’re forking-out for; smokers also take more sick leave than non-smokers. Although it works out at just 70% of an extra day’s sick leave each year, it adds roughly another £50 per smoker per year to your expenses.

Toilet breaks

Going to the loo is natural. Most people will visit the toilet between six and seven times a day. If we assume that three of these visits occur at work, each lasting four minutes each, an employee with an annual salary of £26,500 will cost you 92p per toilet trip. Over the course of the year, this works out at £662.50 — for just one employee!**

Of course, this figure doesn’t consider the cost of toilet roll, soap and other bathroom essentials and maintenance. Add in these items and the cost rockets even further.


*Worked out on the basis that 25 employees (50%) will drink four cups a day and 17 employees (33%) will drink two cups a day. Two was selected as the median value from the range. These figures were then multiplied with the cost per cup to generate the final value.

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