Breaking The Bank

As an employer, one of your main responsibilities is managing your business expenditure. Keeping costs down helps to maximise profits, but it’s the hidden expenses that can quickly mount up.
Have you ever considered just how much staff breaks are costing you? Inn Supplies looks beyond the brews to work out where your money is going.

 

Regulations

Of course, while staff breaks may be costing you money, your employees are entitled to them. If your employees work for longer than six hours, they are entitled to a 20-minute uninterrupted break. Those who smoke are also allowed to take regular cigarette breaks.
The regulations are a little different for young workers who are over 16 but under 18. If they work for longer than 4.5 hours, they are entitled to a 30-minute break.
You are only required to offer paid breaks if it is outlined in your employees’ contracts.

Reality

While the government outlines the minimum, the actual number of breaks your staff takes will likely be higher. For example, making cups of tea and going to the toilet will all eat into your staff’s productive time, temporarily removing them from their responsibilities. So, how much is each break really costing you?

 

Tea breaks

It’s no secret that Britain loves tea. Each day, we spend a total of 24 minutes brewing up at work. Over the course of an individual’s working life, that equates to 188 days and 21 hours. For employees, the humble tea round costs them £400 per employee per year. This figure is based on the average UK wage of £26,000, so those on higher salaries could be costing you even more!
As well as considering the lost time, the vast majority of employers also cover the cost of tea, coffee, milk, sugar and paper cups, where necessary. While this cost is influenced by a number of factors, including location and company size, research has been carried out to determine what this potential cost could be.
According to research by Epiphany, employers will pay 21p more for tea-making supplies in London than they would in Hull. In London, the price per cuppa is 69p, the most expensive in the UK, and in Hull, it’s just 48p.
Around half of workers drink four or more cups a day and 33% drink between one and three cups. Only 20% don’t drink any. Working on this basis, a 50-strong business in Hull could be paying £64.32* a day just for tea and coffee supplies. This figure is even more shocking in London, where it rises to £92.46.

 

Toilet breaks

The average employee can visit the toilet between six and seven times a day. Assuming that three of these visits are at work and each lasts four minutes each, an employee could be costing you 92p each time they go to the loo — or £662.50 a year!**
The cost of bathroom essentials isn’t included in this figure either, meaning the potential expense could be even higher.

 

Smoking breaks

Over the course of the year, employees who smoke can cost their employer £1,815. One in five British workers smoke, so a workplace with 50 employees — including 10 smokers — could be paying £18,150 annually.
*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 toilet calculator and is based on a yearly salary of £26,500.