Business Expenses: A study into employee breaks
It’s important to continuously monitor any business expenses to ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible — but are you aware of how much employee breaks are costing?
How many breaks should your workers have?
Your workers are entitled to breaks. If your employees work for longer than six hours in a day, they are entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes.
Young workers over 16 and under 18, are entitled to a 30-minute rest break if they work longer than 4.5 hours. As an employer, you only have to offer paid rest breaks if it is stipulated within your employees’ contracts.
Employees aren’t entitled to cigarette breaks either. However, many employers are flexible around this, recognising the impact this type of restriction could have on staff morale. As such, some employers have outlined rules around cigarette breaks in their employee contracts.
Looking at company breaks
However, throughout the day you will find your employees taking more time away from their desks than what the government has suggested. For example, tea and toilet breaks will all take your staff away from their responsibilities — but just how much does it cost you? We break it down:
Are tea breaks a cost to your business?
If you’re a business in the UK, you’ll find your employees taking a lot of time making a brew. On average, Brits drink 165 million cups of tea and 70 million cups of coffee every single day — but how does our love of hot drinks hinder our worktime productivity?
A study carried out by VoucherCloud has suggested that making a brew is the fourth biggest distraction at work; especially in offices where 31% of workers agreed. On average, making hot drinks takes 17 minutes per day.
Across an entire year, Brits will spend 68 hours making a hot drink at work. Assuming an average wage of £25,500, employers are paying each employee £897 per year to make hot drinks! This staggering figure is made worse when you consider that those who earn higher wages will cost your business more every time they make a cuppa.
With this, employees are costing the business their time and employers as a standard will usually provide the tea-making products. Of course, this cost varies by a number of factors, including location and company size.
The cost of making a hot drink at work changes across the UK, costing businesses in London 69p and those in Hull 48p. However, the Daily Mail reported in 2017 that the UK Tea and Infusions Association predicts between a 10% and 15% increase in the cost of tea, resulting from Brexit and increased pressure on growers.
At work, the average worker will make four hot drinks each day. Based on the above costs, an employee’s hot drink habit costs employers £2.12 per day in Hull and £3.04 per day in London. Based on a headcount of 50, Hull businesses could be shelling out £106 per day on hot drink supplies alone, while the figure increases to £152 for businesses of the same size in London.
Are snack breaks costing your business?
It’s undeniable that your workers will enjoy the odd snack throughout the day. Usually, employees will cover the cost of these snacks themselves, but how much are they costing you in time while you work?
This can last employees eight minutes each day. While your employees spend these eight minutes snacking, the cost to you is £1.76 per employee, based on the average UK salary. Over the course of a year, this amounts to £422 per employee. For a business with a headcount of 50, the total yearly cost of workplace snacking is £21,120!
Are smoking breaks costing your business?
Employee breaks for smoking are having a huge impact on your operations. 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 — based on four cigarette breaks per day, each lasting 10 minutes. In total, smokers are costing British businesses a huge £8.4 billion!
With one in five Brits smoking, this could cost a business with 50 heads £18,150. 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.
Are toilet breaks costing your business?
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 £25,500 will cost you 66p per toilet trip — or £2.64 per day. Over the course of the year, this works out at £633.60 — for just one employee!*
However, this cost does not consider other items including soap, toilet paper as well as bathroom maintenance. Add in these items and the cost rockets even further.
This article was researched by plastic cups supplier, Inn Supplies.
*This was calculated using Plumbworld’s toilet calculator.