Editors Blog

Taking Care of Business: Your Employees Stink – Really

January 11, 2008

No, that headline isn’t a typo. Some of your employees really stink and they could be turning off your customers. I’m not talking about physiology such as body odor or bad breath. Lord knows I suffer from both. No, I’m talking about odors from tobacco, i.e., cigarettes, cigars, or yes – marijuana. The odors that your field workers carry into homes and businesses are offensive and distracting. If you don’t know that, you’ve been living under a rock.

How many times have you avoided talking with a person, be a it a friend or co-worker, because he or she just got done puffing on a cancer stick and their breath and clothing smelt really bad? I go out of my way to avoid these people and I have some friends who fall into that group. (We avoid each other because they don’t like my nature-enhanced breath.)

It’s no secret that many service techs and installers are like smokestacks when they are in their trucks or outside away from the work job. They are not unlike anybody else in the service trades, and I think the number of outside workers who smoke compared to the number of inside workers who smoke is disproportionately high - probably because there are more opportunities to smoke if you work in the field.

Part of a field worker’s job is to interact with customers, be they homeowners or building owners. Service techs have the most exposure but installers are also forced to make eye contact on occasion, too. Contractors know the importance of soft skills - the ability to communicate with people - but those skills are completely negated when the odor of tobacco waifs up. Your customers are likely to avoid your workers and not even bother calling you again if they don’t like dealing with your odiferous staff. And think of the smells that are left behind after your stinky employees leave.

I haven’t even started to rant about the health insurance costs for treating people with smoking-related illnesses. Can you spell C-A-N-C-E-R treatments?

I’ll save that blog for another time.

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