Long gone are the days of unrestrained tobacco consumption on the job. They were always an annoyance for non-smokers, as they were forced in offices and factory halls to become passive smokers. The fact that jobs need to remain smoke-free is a matter of course these days, but it demands a lot from smokers. As a minority, they usually only have the aisle or porch in front of their door ¬– whatever the weather. Well, in the spirit of a relaxed working environment in partnership, shouldn´t a reconciliation of interests be sought? Smoking canopies and smoking shelters can help.
A question of climate
Even though workers no longer have the right to smoke in the workplace, their needs should nevertheless be taken into account wherever possible. The German Federal Labor Court has fundamentally confirmed the claim for suitable smoking opportunities, with exceptions. Accordingly, an employer may prohibit smoking in general in his buildings, but in open spaces only if special reasons, such as risk of explosion, are extant.
In the view of the judges, wanting to wean smokers from their vices exceeds the responsibility of the employer. However, he may require that the duration of smoking breaks are recorded and workers risk warnings if they make unreasonable use of their break time. In accordance with the Works Constitution Act, works councils have a say in designing the specific regulations. In practice, this means that smoking bans are regulated by company agreements. A good working atmosphere will be distinguished by the fact that all interests are sufficiently appreciated and respected.
Not a luxury
Anyone who wants to or has to smoke should not have to hide and should be personally accessible to his colleagues also during his smoking break. This suggests the establishment of designated smoking areas. Another advantage: wherever special safety regulations must be adhered to by visitors and other non-residents, for example in chemical processing plants dealing with hazardous substances, these can be implemented more easily with smoker’s shelters and smoking cabins.
Smokers’ canopies and smoking shelters are therefore no luxury – they ensure clear demarcation on the outskirts and parking lots of companies, public authorities, hospitals, in front of train stations, sports facilities and other places employees, visitors or customers reside: Smoking is only allowed here! House rules and company agreements between management and works councils regulate the details of the implementation of the statutory non-smoker protection which is required by the Workplace Ordinance. Company and staff councils may also require the establishment of smoking areas.
How attractively a workplace is perceived also depends on the location. This also applies to smoking zones. Attractively designed smoking areas certainly contribute to a positive evaluation. They can match custom CI specifications and be equipped with high quality materials. Roofs with side walls provide protection in inclement weather and provide shade in midsummer. Numerous variants are available from a simple smoking shelter to a completely enclosed smoker’s hall with seating, ash containers and lockable entrance.
Regularly cleaned and maintained smoking canopies and smokers’ shelters can make smoking bans as part of non-smoking legislation or workplace regulations easier to accept and follow. This, in turn, certainly contributes positively to the general work atmosphere and corporate climate. Another side effect: utility and traffic areas remain clean and signal that a company has solved the thorny issue of where smoking is still allowed.