Happy, healthy and hydrated

How well hydrated are your employees? Although this may seem like a strange question, it is a pertinent one for businesses to ask. Studies have shown that employee hydration can affect the company bottom line. This is because water plays a role in reducing sick days and improving overall productivity.

Dehydrated employees are often tired – and tired employees are unproductive. Productivity levels are heavily influenced by the way employees feel and the mood that they’re in.

A recent study asked participants to drink three cups of water before taking various IQ tests. Those who were well hydrated performed 14 times better when compared with those who did not drink water. Research has shown that losing just 500ml of fluid within the body increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Dehydration can have both short- and long-term impacts on health. One of the most common side-effects of dehydration is a headache. It can also cause lethargy, joint pain, a lack of concentration, memory loss and, in serve cases, kidney damage. It is not surprising that dehydration results in over 500 000 hospitalisations per annum, racking up a $5,5-billion health care bill in the United States alone.

Not drinking enough water can also impact people’s moods. Irritable staff members are less likely to get along with co-workers or get their work done.

While you can’t force your employees to drink more, there are a number of ways to make it easier for them to stay hydrated:

Water coolers

The most popular way to keep employees hydrated is by purchasing a water cooler for the office. Any initial investment will see returns in the long run, as water coolers have many benefits. They traditionally serve as a gathering point for staff, and research shows that offices with water coolers have more productive employees than those without. This is because short breaks boost productivity, while chatting to co-workers in down-time strengthens employee relationships.
Water from a water cooler is also filtered, which means it is more pure than tap water. When employees have access to cool, fresh water, they are less likely to drink sugary drinks. This lowers the risks of diabetes and obesity.

Water coolers are also cost-effective, requiring less power to run than a vending machine.

A good idea is to leave some lemons or limes next to the cooler, so employees can add a little flavour to their water.

Water bottles

What better way to keep employees hydrated than by giving them a branded water bottle? Employees will not only be able to drink water at their desks or on the move, but will also be showcasing your brand. Having water on hand encourages people to drink more regularly. If they have to keep getting up every time they want a drink, they will be less likely to drink enough.


A clever and cost-effective way to keep staff hydrated is to provide fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks. As much as 20% of our daily water intake comes from the fruit and vegetables we eat. Apples are a particularly great source of water.

Providing your workforce with plenty of water will keep staff well hydrated, motivated and happy.

Employees who are dehydrated are also more likely to:
* Call in sick more often;
* Come to work in a bad mood;
* Eat unhealthy foods;
* Process information at a slower rate; and
* Exhibit signs of premature ageing and brain shrinkage.
End box

The human body is comprised of 65% water and the brain is 80% water. Between 1,5 litres and 2,5 litres of water is required to replace the fluid our bodies lose in a 24-hour period.

Keep it clean
Essential to maintaining water dispensing equipment is sanitisation, which should take place at least twice a year. If the dispenser is not sanitised, residue will build up in the reservoir, which can harbour bacteria. Green slime build-up which contains bacteria can impair the immune system and cause infections in humans such as gingivitis, dental plaque, middle-ear infections and urinary tract infections. Proper sanitation on a regular basis requires using a tasteless, oxidising product to penetrate the layers of biofilm and disinfect all the internal working components tanks, hoses and taps. Water bottles and refills should also feature tamper evident caps and stickers and be made from food grade Polycarbonate containers.

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