Work Breaks – Unexpected Business Costs That Come with Hiring Staff

In many respects my work has me going through a daily routine of sorts, but since it’s within the marketing and designing sphere, by no means is it ever the same. There are even times when I find myself in a completely different setting to my usual workspace, in which a project for a specific client spans a few weeks and even months sometimes. The exposure I get to the various facets of the workplace has had me making some rather interesting observations, especially with regards to the dynamics surrounding an expanding workforce.


Unexpected business costs come about as a result of filling the need to hire new staff, one of which unexpected business expense is the amount of money lost due to staff breaks. Paper cup and disposable catering specialist, Inn Supplies, breaks down the costs:

Bathroom Breaks

It’s only natural going to the loo and the average person visits the toilet six to seven times per day. Of those six to seven daily toilet visits, three can be assumed to occur at work, with each employee spending an average of four minutes at the toilet. Assuming each employee takes home a salary of £26,500, each employee’s bathroom break amounts to a cost of 92p, which over the duration of a year adds up to £662.50. That’s just for one employee!

Naturally you’d fill up the restrooms with all the requisite sanitary amenities, some of which goods disappear with employees as well. Either way, that just adds to the cost of bathroom breaks.

Tea Breaks

Well, we love our tea in Britain and according to the indicative average number of cups of tea drunk per day, I’m way, way above the norm with my 10 daily cups.

Taking into account that about 50% of employees drink four cups a day and 33% drink two cups per day, a median of two cups per day is arrived at from this range. Multiply these figures with the cost per cup and a final value is generated.

What this amounts to is £400 per employee per year as the cost to an employer, as a direct result of employee tea breaks. That’s assuming a £26,000 average wage, so since it’s a factor of time, those of your employees who earn a higher wage will then naturally cost you more as the employer.

Cost can quickly escalate even more if you factor-in considerations such as whether or not you as the employer provide the tea-making supplies and where you buy them, as places such as London are more expensive to buy from than Hull, for example.

Smoking Breaks

Research for the British Heart Foundation brings to light some interesting findings, particularly with regards to the cost associated with an employee who smokes at work. This amounts to £1,815 per year, which very quickly becomes even more significant when you consider that one in five workers in Britain are smokers, so a payroll sheet with 50 staff members would harbour 10 smokers, which equates to £18,150 per year lost to smoke breaks.