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Workplace Health and Safety

Why the Office Water Cooler Is More Important Than Ever

Everyone knows that a body literally cannot survive without enough water. Hydration plays a central role in core temperature regulation, organ function and toxin flushing. But there’s another part of our body that relies just as heavily on water consumption: our brain. 

While water makes up 70 percent of our body, it comprises roughly 75 percent of our brain. This correlation is astoundingly evident in professional settings, where business owners depend on their employees’ mental clarity and office productivity to positively impact profit margins. 

Hazards of under-hydrated employees

Dehydration leads to a number of undesirable side effects. These symptoms include mental confusion, thirst, sweating, slowed thought patterns, headaches and migraines, fatigue, malaise and a host of other consequences. Obviously, a tired, groggy, achy employee will not operate or think at maximum capacity. 

Not only do under-hydrated workers perform their jobs more slowly and less effectively, they could also make costly and drastic mistakes that devastate a company’s bottom line. For instance, a foggy-headed insurance agent providing a customer with incorrect coverage information may cost the agency expenses from improper claim filing or lawsuit.

A severely dehydrated employee could even suffer from serious health complications (such as fainting, stroke or heart failure) while on the job, leading to a worker’s compensation liability for his or her company. 

Benefits of optimal employee hydration

On the flipside of dehydration is optimal hydration. Employees who drink enough water feel healthier and think more clearly. An ideal water balance helps keep their body temperatures stable (regardless of hot or cold work environments), and they remain sharp and focused on the tasks at-hand. 

Among the benefits of proper hydration are mood regulation, improved metabolism function, increased energy and the all-important trait of sustained mental clarity. Every company runner knows that these assets contribute substantially to operating and maintaining a successful business. Happy, healthy, quick-thinking workers learn easily, function well as a team and boost productivity and ROI. 

Tools for providing in-office access to drinking water

So how much water should people drink on a daily basis? Doctors suggest taking in approximately one quart per hour of vigorous exercise or work. It is also recommended that water allowances be broken up into intervals. For instance, a construction worker should take around four water breaks per hour. 

Many employees, however, work in less strenuous office environments. In these settings, constant and easy access to clean drinking water is still of paramount importance. A conscientious business owner should install water coolers and/or water fountains with paper cups around the workplace. You can also keep a breakroom fridge stocked with bottled water. 

To encourage workers to drink more, many CEOs even opt to make water intake more fun and inviting by purchasing carbonated soda water makers with flavorful, fruity choices. Place them right next to the office coffee pot as a healthier option. 

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