There a clear difference between work hours and after work fun time when it comes to your employees. Their personal life is something the company can’t control, it’s their private business and what there’s nothing an employer can do to control their activities. If they are high-profile figures in promoting your image, the story is a bit different, but when it comes to the average Joe-employee or Jane-employee, you have no say in matters that can in the end affect you. Like stealing, murdering someone or other such negativity that can be associated with you.
When it comes to breaks, there’s something you can do. You can’t tell anyone when to take breaks or where to take them and I would never recommend something of sorts. But you can kindly ask your employees to display a decent behavior. And if you don’t know what they do or say on their breaks, I suggest you try and find out. Because customers visiting you don’t care you’re staff is on a break, they will associate their behavior with your image because everything happens in your garden.
Why is this important? An example might help. A few days back I went with a friend to get some juice from the bistro in our office building. It was 3pm, long after the rush hour, and half of the employees were taking a break on the hallway. And they’re fun activity of choice? Imitating the sounds of an extremely horny cat! Can you imagine what was going through our minds seeing three grown up men laughing over and over again at the same tasteless joke? Given it was half they’re employees in this category, it was enough to form a pretty general opinion on the company’s staff and the values the employers promoted, the customer care skills they had, etc.
Luckily, I also knew the nice, decent people working there. But for a first time customer, would it have mattered? I seriously doubt it!