Workplace Culture

Dear Workforce How Do I Become a Smoke-Free Plant

By Staff Report

Sep. 7, 2011

Dear Workforce:
I’m thinking adopting a smoke-free workplace policy. What would you suggest I keep in mind?

If you haven’t already done so I would suggest finding out from your employees exactly what their concerns are, as well as the benefits they expect to see. If might not be too late to shape your program with an attempt to meet the specific needs that are identified.

In general, the potential pitfalls that I might expect could include any of the following: smokers feeling singled out and penalized and therefore resentful; scheduled breaks expanded informally to accommodate smoker s needs to find a smoking zone to get their fix; creation of a “them” vs. “us” environment; out-and-out disregard for the new rules.

Place an emphasis on the benefits for all employees when this program is rolled out. In addition, let workers know it is “their” policy and subject to modification and improvement over time as better ways are found to create this type of environment.

SOURCE: Pamela L. Pommerenke, a professor of Human Resource Management at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Graduate School of Business, September 1998.

E-mail your Dear Workforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at, along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you state otherwise, your identifying info may be used on and in Workforce magazine.


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