Keeping an eye on expenditures is one of
the most basic, yet crucial elements to running a business. Another vital
element of business-running is keeping staff happy, which means breaks are
needed. But how much does the average staff break cost a business financially?
Your employees are, of course, entitled to
their break. If your employees work for
longer than six hours in a day, they are entitled to an uninterrupted break of
20 minutes. In addition, workers who smoke are entitled to cigarette breaks. 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.
Of course, the typical working day usually
includes more breaks than those outlined by the government. 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:
The much-needed tea break
Our nation is one that loves its tea,
whether it’s from our favourite mug or from a paper cup at our go-to
takeaway. 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).
And we’re drinking a lot of brews too! 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.
Breaks for smoking
Smokers also cost your business in terms of
breaks. 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.
It’s not just the breaks smokers are taking
that cost businesses either. 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
Breaks for the toilet
Going to the toiler is not optional either,
but it’s still a break. 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!**
There’re other costs associated with this
too. 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
*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.
**This was calculated using Plumbworld’s