British employees are being urged to take reading breaks instead of cigarette breaks as part of a new campaign to improve health and wellbeing at work.

The Adopt a Book scheme, run by The Book People and the National Literacy Trust, aims to increase reading via the workplace by encouraging businesses to choose a book for all their staff to read.

Copies of the chosen publication can be bought from The Book People at a discounted price and delivered directly to workplaces.

Employers are advised to turn old smoking rooms into reading areas, allowing staff to use their breaks as opportunities to take in a chapter or two.

It is hoped the initiative will spark discussion and debate among employees, in turn promoting communication and teamwork and boosting morale.

The scheme’s organisers also claim reading can help relieve stress and allow staff to achieve a healthier work/life balance.

According to the employment relations service Acas, each new case of work-related stress results in an average of 29 days off work.