It’s time to water those workers! Raise a glass of H20 (or two) with your employees, and you may well find that concentration levels increase. Lethargic workers find a sudden burst of energy. And Joe, who’s always calling out from his cubicle about that afternoon headache? He’s working away on a project, noggin feeling just fine.
Here’s why it’s so important to support good water intake:
- Air conditioning is virtually everywhere in Florida – and it’s a hydration negative. AC units are designed to lower the atmospheric water content, and that phenomenon leads to people experiencing water loss via the skin or lungs. Yes, indoor workers lose less water than those whose tasks take them outside – but they are not immune to dehydration just because they’re cooler.
- Outdoor workers face an ongoing risk – According to the Mayo Clinic, water intake requirements depend on the person. It’s a sure bet that a road crew working in August on the blacktop is going to need more water than the CPA in her fifth-floor office building. The much-touted recommendation ‘8 glasses a day’ is relatively sound, though some individuals definitely require more liquids. Some require less. A good rule is for outdoor workers especially to stay ahead of thirst. Once one becomes thirsty, she is already mildly dehydrated.
- Indoors or out, the dehydrated worker is likely not as productive as his water-swilling coworker. Our bodies cannot make the water we need in order to function optimally. Instead, it doles out symptoms to remind us to fill up those bottles. Lack of concentration is a commonly touted one, as is lethargy and headaches. None are helpful for work progress. Additionally, severe dehydration carries possible severe consequences that are much worse than lack of productivity.
What’s an employer to do? Consider a company-wide giveaway of stainless steel water bottles. (If you do opt for classic plastic, make sure they are BPA free. That’s a topic for another blog). Educate your workforce regarding dehydration symptoms. Encourage them to reach for a glass of water when they experience a lull in their day. Remind them that total liquid intake takes their food choices into account – thus that 2pm apple counts toward the hydration whole.
It could be that a good deal of workers are arriving to work dehydrated and leaving at the end of the workday in the same state. Make sure there’s water, water everywhere at the office, and that may be all it takes for on the job refreshment.