When most people think about hydration, their thoughts usually focus on those things that they can do at home to ensure that they get more water into their bodies. While that is an important component in any hydration effort, it’s important to remember that most of us spend a great deal of time away from our homes each day – including those long hours we spend in the workplace.
Unfortunately, the workplace environment often places little emphasis on hydration, primarily due to a lack of information about the importance of remaining properly hydrated. The fact is that hydrated employees are often happier, healthier, more motivated, and more productive – which is why every company needs to know how to fit hydration into its overall workplace wellness strategy.
How Hydration Improves Workplace Wellness
Hydration should be at the forefront of every company’s wellness strategy, since it can make a significant impact on health, happiness, and motivation. Without proper hydration, employees can experience adverse effects that can directly impede their work performance.
Hydration and Effects on Health
75% of Americans suffer chronic dehydration each day. Studies have demonstrated that brain functions like short-term memory, focus, and visual motor tracking can all be impaired even when water loss is at a mere 2% of body weight. At 4%, reaction times can be slowed by 23%. In many work environments, that can be a very dangerous thing indeed.
Hydration and Effects on Happiness
The brain fog and confusion that can accompany dehydration has a negative impact on mood. Evidence suggests that hydrated employees have better cognitive skills and mental performance. They’re also less fatigued, which can help them to maintain better spirits while on the job.
Hydration and Effects on Motivation
When employees are hydrated, that extra energy and clarity of mind can motivate them to achieve more with less effort and fewer resources. Energetic and focused employees are more productive than dehydrated, fatigued workers.
Tips to encourage people to drink more water at work
To make any workplace wellness strategy effective, companies need to educate and motivate employees to participate in the effort That’s just as true with hydration as it is with any other health goal. The following tips can help to encourage that participation and help achieve your company’s goals:
- Develop a written policy for hydration. If you allow it to be no more than an abstract concept, it will never produce anything more than abstract results. Seek meaningful, measurable results instead.
- Train employees to ensure that they understand your company’s hydration policy. Encourage buy-in at every level of the organization.
- Install a water cooler that can ensure that your employees always have access to unlimited, cold water that is tasty and environmentally-friendly.
- Offer fruits that employees can use to transform their water into delicious fruit-infused water.
- Give each employee a durable drinking bottle branded with the company logo, so that they all have a quality drinking container to use in the workplace.
- Encourage employees to consume water while on break – and enforce break times to ensure that they take the time to get the fluids they need.
- Make sure that every office and area of the company has access to the water facilities it needs. This is not only good policy from a wellness standpoint, but it’s also required by law.
- Take steps to train managerial staff and other supervisors so that they can better recognize the signs of dehydration and address those employees’ needs.
- Be aware of environmental factors that can make dehydration more likely – high temperature areas, extreme dust, etc.
Putting it All Together
A proper emphasis on hydration should be a critical part of your company’s workplace wellness strategy. With it, you can help to ensure that you not only meet your legal obligations but also protect workers and your firm’s ability to compete in the marketplace. Hydration should be viewed as both an individual health need and a corporate productivity concern.
As your firm works to implement the strategies needed to promote hydration for all employees, the effort can yield a healthier and more productive workforce that contributes to improved profitability, reduces workplace stress, and other important benefits.