How much are coffee breaks costing your business?


One of your main focuses as a businessowner will be to monitor your finances, but the cost of coffee breaks may have slipped your mind. Disposable soup containers suppliers, Inn Supplies, breaks down the costs:

Legal breaks

To align with government ruling, you must be offering your employees a set amount of breaks for the hours that they work. If your employees work for longer than six hours in a day, they are entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes.
If your staff are over 16 and under 18, they should be given a half-an-hour break if they work over 4.5 hours. As an employer, you only have to offer paid rest breaks if it is stipulated within your employees’ contracts.

However, if you have smokers among your workers, it might be worth knowing that they’re not entitled to legal breaks. However, many employers are flexible around this, recognising the impact this type of restriction could have on staff morale. As such, some employers have outlined rules around cigarette breaks in their employee contracts.


Breaks in the workplace

Most workers will find themselves having more breaks than what the government has suggested for them. 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:


Tea breaks in your business

Britain is known for its avid tea drinking. On average, Brits drink 165 million cups of tea and 70 million cups of coffee every single day — but how does our love of hot drinks hinder our worktime productivity?

When workers were asked what reduced their productivity, 31% said that said that making hot drinks was the biggest distraction; leading the activity to become fourth place in terms of worker disruption. On average, making hot drinks takes 17 minutes per day.

Across the entire year, workers will spend around 68 hours making a hot drink at work. Assuming an average wage of £25,500, employers are paying each employee £897 per year to make hot drinks! This staggering figure is made worse when you consider that those who earn higher wages will cost your business more every time they make a cuppa.

Although businesses will lose time because of this, they will also find themselves paying the bill too. Of course, this cost varies by a number of factors, including location and company size.
But how does price for making a brew differ across the country? London was the most expensive with 69p and Hull was the cheapest with 48p. However, the Daily Mail reported in 2017 that the UK Tea and Infusions Association predicts between a 10% and 15% increase in the cost of tea, resulting from Brexit and increased pressure on growers.

However, according to some research it has been suggested that the price could increase by 10%.

It was discovered that the average employee drinks four hot drinks a day. Based on the above costs, an employee’s hot drink habit costs employers £2.12 per day in Hull and £3.04 per day in London. Based on a headcount of 50, Hull businesses could be shelling out £106 per day on hot drink supplies alone, while the figure increases to £152 for businesses of the same size in London.

Although this is looked at as a standard expense, it could be financially damaging to a business.


Cost of snacks

Although your workers like to indulge in hot drinks, they also enjoy the odd snack too. Usually, employees will cover the cost of these snacks themselves, but how much are they costing you in time while you work?

According to one study, this can reduce productivity for an entire eight minutes. While your employees spend these eight minutes snacking, the cost to you is £1.76 per employee, based on the average UK salary. Over the course of a year, this amounts to £422 per employee. For a business with a headcount of 50, the total yearly cost of workplace snacking is £21,120!


Smoking breaks

Are smokers a bad asset to your company? 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 — based on four cigarette breaks per day, each lasting 10 minutes. In total, smokers are costing British businesses a huge £8.4 billion!

If a business has 50 people, it’s likely that 10 people are smokers as one in five British workers do. This could cost your business £18,150 in time, annually.

As well as this, smokers take more sick-days than non-smokers. 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 your expenses.


The cost of toilet breaks

You can’t stop people taking a trip to the bathroom. 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 £25,500 will cost you 66p per toilet trip — or £2.64 per day. Over the course of the year, this works out at £633.60 — for just one employee!*

However, the figures above do not consider the cost of toilet necessities, maintenance and more. Add in these items and the cost rockets even further.

*This was calculated using Plumbworld’s toilet calculator.

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