The FINANCIAL — Besides harming their health, smokers are affecting their work too because of the time they spend in smoking areas. But not all the representatives of companies think that there should be a limited time for smoking.
“Staff Management together with our HR department are responsible for ensuring that staff do not spend too much time in smoking areas,” Tamar Shavdia, PR Manager of Bank Republic, one of the leading Georgian banks, told The FINANCIAL.
“A worker can sit at his desk for the whole working day and yet produce nothing concrete at the end. As an employer what’s more important is the quality of work and not the amount of time an employee spends in a smoking area,” notes David Kiladze, Director of the pharmaceutical company GPC.
Kiladze does not think that non-smokers should have extra privileges in comparison with smokers. “Looking back at history we can remember the example of Winston Churchill, who was a smoker,” he says.
“Smoking in Basisbank is only permitted in the kitchen. As for controlling smoking time and frequency of breaks, it’s complicated. However, workers do not permit themselves to spend too much time in the smoking area,” says Julia Enukishvili, HR Manager of BasisBank.
Enukishvili states that if management notices an employee spending too much time in the smoking area, he/she will get a warning.
“I think that there should be a separate workplace for smokers,” says Tatuli Gviniashvili, PR manager of Magticom.
Gviniashvili does not think that it is necessary to impose a limited time for smokers.
“At our company smoking is permitted but there are special places for it. I do not have an exact number, but I think that about 40% of our employees are smokers,” she says.
“Besides harming their health smokers are wasting a lot of time during working hours,” notes Ella Karapetian, Director of tour operator company BusinessTravelCom.
“Everybody has the right to smoke,” says Rezi Nijaradze, Marketing Manager of development company Axis. “Each office has a smoking area and it would mean the discrimination and isolation of smokers to prohibit smoking during work hours,” he notes.
Nijaradze considers it ridiculous to state a limited time for smoking.
“I agree that smokers are wasting their time in smoking areas, as a result I prefer there to be a limited time for smoking,” says Mako Jaoshvili, PR Manager of food producing company Nikora.
“At our company smoking is permitted, but only in special rooms. Most of our employees are non-smokers,” says Shavdia, Bank Republic.
Shavdia notes that in Bank Republic non-smokers have no extra privileges. “For us what results in privileges is the satisfaction of other, more qualifying demands. No one has any privileges because of non-smoking,” she says.
“We have Health and Non-Smoking Awareness Days every year. Therefore, all employees are well aware about the effects of smoking. Although the decision to quit or not stays with the individual,” says Tamila Chantladze, BP senior PR adviser.
Everyone agrees with the recent decision of Georgian parliament to divide public places in to smoking and non-smoking. However they think that it should not cause the discrimination of non-smokers.
“I welcome the recent decision of our government to divide public places in to smoking and non-smoking. It will protect the rights of non-smokers. However, it should not cause the discrimination of smokers. For example in the airport of Munich the smoking area is just a separated small sized cabin, reminding one of a crematorium actually,” says Kiladze, GPC.
“It is the Government’s responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle and defend the rights of non smokers,” notes Shavdia, Bank Republic.
On the contrary, Gviniashvili, Magticom, thinks that demanding such actions from public places is up to the individual decisions of the companies themselves.
“I think that it is right to divide social gathering places for smokers and non smokers, but in my view, this is not a case to be stated by the Government. Public places, cafes, restaurants and so on, should come to the decision themselves,” Gviniashvili declares.
“I do not smoke and so I find it very uncomfortable to breath in others’ smoke in cafes or restaurants where you want to have just relax and enjoy being with friends. I was happiest when I was living in London for a while where even at bus stops in the streetszyou are not allowed to smoke,” declares Rusudan Kbilashvili, PR Manager of Wissol, leading Georgian oil importer company.
“Recently I have noticed warnings banning smoking in public gathering places. It’s high time, as it really is hard to be in a building full of smoke when you are not smoker,” says Enukishvili, BasisBank.
Written By Madona Gasanova