It is a legal requirement for all businesses to be completely smoke-free inside buildings – but many employees and customers are smokers or use e-cigarettes/vape devices. So, to cater to those people, especially in the wetter and windier weather, it is important to provide a dedicated shelter. Here are some benefits:
It is a fact of life that some people smoke/vape. Not providing a safe, sheltered place for your employees to do so means that they will be dissatisfied, and can lead to a lack of engagement and productivity. They will return from their smoking breaks wet, cold and irritated if they have had to stand around in the rain.
Particularly in the evenings or on night shifts, standing outside in an unlit area could be unsafe. Providing a smoking-shelter that is well lit and visible from the building can be a deterrent to the criminally minded.
When customers or clients come to your site, even if they are smokers themselves, they do not want to see people standing outside smoking or vaping: it looks unprofessional, it makes your staff look like they don’t care about the business, and it might even feel intimidating. Providing a shelter means that people will be grouped together away from your main entry points, giving visitors a much better first impression of your business.
Clean and tidy
Smoking creates ash, ash goes on the floor, the floor looks messy/dirty. Using a shelter can minimise this (as smokers will be encouraged to use the integrated ash trays/bins), and any ash that does reach the floor will be localised to one spot rather than all over the place. Similarly with cigarette ends – the vast majority of people will find an ashtray or bin to dispose of these but some will inevitably end up on the floor, either through negligence or because the bins/ashtrays are overflowing or being affected by wind and rain.
Some other considerations…
When you are looking at installing your smoking shelter, you need to think about some important factors.
Legally speaking, in the United Kingdom, a smoking shelter has to be at least 50% open to allow the smoke to dissipate quickly.
You need to position your shelter sufficiently far away from any doors or windows that the smoke doesn’t make its way into the building, but close enough for smokers to reach it quickly and for it to feel like a safe space.
Your shelter should be big enough to accommodate all the people likely to be smoking or vaping at any one time. If they can’t fit in without stepping on each other’s toes, they simply won’t use it – negating all the benefits that you are looking for.
Maintenance will be required periodically, as with any structure. Make sure to get a smoking shelter that requires the minimum – you don’t want to have to paint it or refinish it every year.
Get one that’s weatherproof; good quality ones will also restrict UV penetration to provide a bit more comfort and safety for your personnel.