How is the Water at your Work? Why Workplace Water Quality Matters
To say that every office environment is unique would be an understatement. While your office doesn’t need to have a Dwight Shrute or even worse, a Bill Lumberg, you may have to put up with some difficult characters at your work.
If the worst element of your office environment is a zany co-worker, then you’re in luck. Many Americans across the country have to deal with office environments that range from uncomfortable to unsafe. There are many documented health issues associated with working in an office.
Even more important than a lack of ergonomic equipment, a tiresome co-worker or loud desk eater, is a water quality problem at your office. Issues can range from a lack of water availability to a water quality problem, and nameless issues in between.
Access to quality drinking water in the office environment is an extremely important, and often an overlooked issue. If you are looking for ways to help improve the quality or availability of clean, drinking water in your office, then we’re here to help!
How Hydration Affects Workers and Productivity
To say that productivity in the workplace is important would be a massive understatement. Simply put, when employees feel good, performance increases. It’s pretty simple science!
Staying hydrated at work may not sound like an important factor that can contribute to a company’s overall productivity, but the science behind the physiological response to dehydration should make any manager or human resources person pay attention.
In many offices across America, access to safe drinking water is an issue. There is no shortage of scientific reasons why drinking water is important, and often the problems can’t be solved by talking with human resources.
Availability of Clean Water
In many offices, the water issues start with a lack of access to a water source. Perhaps your office doesn’t have water, or access to the drinking station is on another floor. As you can imagine, there are many scenarios where access to the water source is a physical problem.
Quality of Drinking Water
For many aging buildings, drinkable water sources are becoming problematic. Perhaps you have access to a water source, but maybe it’s not quite what you would want to drink on a regular basis. That can mean the sink is old and disgusting, but perhaps the plumbing has issues from lead pipes to untreated water sources.
Both of these situations can create office environments where employees or workers are prone to dehydration, costing a lot more than just time and money. Ensuring that everyone has access to clean drinking water in the office is extremely important. By understanding the associated risks, one can understand the value of investing in clean water for everyone in the company.
How Important is it Really?
So, what’s the big deal with drinking water? Is it really that important? It’s estimated that 1% of dehydration can reduce employee productivity by as much as 12%. Sadly, a high percentage of working Americans get dehydrated on a daily basis, negatively impacting productivity.
Access to clean water is an integral part of life. In fact, water is not only vital to life but a majority of the human body. It has been estimated that about 60% of the human body is water.
The brain controls most activities in the body, is made up of about 80% of water.
To ensure that employees are working at their best, the Institute of Medicine recommends drinking as much as 13 cups of water daily to stay hydrated.
Dehydration can affect employees in many ways ranging from mental exhaustion to muscle cramps. With that in mind, here are some of the proven reasons why drinking clean water improves a person’s health at work — and consequently, their productivity and output:
1. Drinking adequate water increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain
Various studies have shown the result of dehydration on the brain — and they’re not good for productivity, to say the least.
These studies have shown that dehydration can lead to difficulty in paying attention to tasks.
In a recent experiment, Zip Water invited two gamers to play against each other for a virtual game of ping pong. However, instead of using controllers, they used EEG headsets which allowed them to play the ball using mind control.
The results showed that the dehydrated player performed far worse than his opponent because of fatigue and loss of focus.
Apart from this, dehydration can impair your short-term memory and recall of long-term memory.
Furthermore, it becomes more difficult for you to perform mental arithmetic if you’re dehydrated. Often you may not even realize it, instead feeling hungry or just tired instead of thirsty.
2. Drinking clean water reduces stress
One of the biggest issues at work is stress, no matter what job you have, you have to deal with it in some way. Stress can be particularly difficult in office environments where everyone is in close quarters with each other. We all understand what stress can do and how it can affect the mood and productivity of everyone at work.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 61% of Americans claim that work is one of their most common sources of stress. There are endless causes of stress at work, some of them are psychological while others are physiological.
In the words of Amanda Carlson, RD, Director of Performance Nutrition at Athletes’ Performance:
“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a well-hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.”
Taking water will not automatically solve all stress problems. But, it goes a long way towards relieving stress, which can lead to dehydration, and vice versa.
3. Drinking clean water makes the muscle to retain strength and shape
Surprise! Drinking water is also really important for your muscles! Without adequate amounts of water (especially clean water), muscles can cramp. When muscles cramp, people are in pain and productivity come screeching to a halt. Muscle cramps are much more likely to occur in physically demanding jobs, but dehydration increases the likelihood no matter where you work. Sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your body.
Sadly, when a dehydrated person engages in strenuous exercises, it may lead to cramped muscles. Why? Because water helps to carry oxygen through the muscles which allow them to work longer and harder before tiring. Again, this may be more applicable for physically intense jobs, but the importance of water and proper muscle function cannot be understated.
4. Drinking water helps in weight loss
When employees drink the right amount of clean drinking water, they become less hungry as they feel full most of the time. Proper hydration and water intake helps in burning excess fats. Research shows that a large glass of water can increase body metabolism by 24-30% for up to 90 minutes.