How to keep staff hydrated in the office

Drink water

Employers spend lots of time and money looking for ways to maximise the efficiency of their workforce.

One simple factor that is likely to be overlooked, despite playing a significant role in productivity, is ensuring employee hydration levels are maintained.

We all know how important hydration is, but busy workloads sometimes mean staff don’t refuel as much as they need to. Here are just some of the ways you can encourage staff to keep hydrated in the office.

How can employers keep staff hydrated?

While there is no set figure for how much water a person should drink each day, there are guidelines for the suggested number of glasses. These are based around a typical adult’s day but should be adjusted depending on factors such as physical activity, temperature and overall health. The NHS recommends that adults drink between six to eight glasses a day, which equates to at least 1.2 litres.

These stats are not new but can often be overlooked, especially when busy. This can result in a drop in productivity levels, while other factors, such as the weather and air conditioning units, can also enhance dehydration. There are a number of benefits for the body that come from drinking water, as it delivers oxygen around the body to increase alertness. Furthermore, it increases working memory as well as maintaining blood pressure.

What, then, can employers do to ensure staff remain hydrated throughout the day?

The first option is simple: installing a water bottle machine into the office. The quality of tap water can differ across the country, and some people simply don’t like it. Options, such as introducing 15 litre water bottle machines to the workplace, provide fresh, cold water for staff to enjoy. By making water more accessible, staff may also be more likely to fill up their glasses or water bottles throughout the day.

The temperature of the water can also play a somewhat surprising role in productivity. Cold drinks, especially water, are beneficial to the overall health of a person, compared to room temperature drinks. This is because the chill of the cold liquid stimulates adrenaline, keeping people alert and therefore more productive. Ensuring a continued supply of cold water therefore should be a priority of any office manager.

What are the benefits of free tea and coffee for staff?

Unfortunately, water is not to everyone’s taste and forcing employees to drink more water can become tiresome. There are alternative options available, however, which may help improve employee hydration levels.

Supplying team members with squash can help maintain hydration levels. Taking multiple trips to the supermarket to stock up on squash can be expensive, but employers can take advantage of suppliers, including Office Depot, to provide cost-effective deliveries of different options.

Tea and coffee can also be a good solution for employers to consider. Recent suggestions from the Eatwell Guide says we should drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day, which includes tea and coffee. Offering complimentary hot drinks to staff should therefore be looked into. Additionally, providing complimentary services can have a positive impact on morale and job satisfaction.

There are other options including fruit teas, flavoured waters and sugar-free soft drinks which also aid hydration. These can be made available via vending machines, providing businesses with a cost-effective solution which encourage team members to remain hydrated throughout the day.

What are the side effects of dehydration?

When your workforce becomes dehydrated, many problems can arise. Productivity can fall, as dehydration is associated with headaches and low energy levels, which hinders work progress. Similarly, it makes workers prone to mood shifts and dips in concentration levels, which businesses will want to avoid.

Ultimately, these side effects create a less focused and, consequently, a less efficient workforce. The negative impact of poor hydration can also impact mental health and wellbeing, showing why employee hydration should not be taken lightly.

Ways to Encourage Staff to Drink More

There are a few simple suggestions for how employers could prompt staff to keep up with their daily fluid intake throughout the working day. Branded water bottles, which track intake against the time of day, present a useful way of ensuring staff stay hydrated. Other simple steps, such as ensuring clean glasses are accessible to all team members, may seem obvious but can often be overlooked.

We all know the importance of hydration, but it is surprising how often businesses let their employees down by not providing adequate hydration stations throughout the office. Businesses should carefully consider workplace catering to prevent employees suffering from wavering productivity levels. Examples of ways employers could cater to these needs include the installation of water coolers, drinks vending machines and coffee machines. 

To find out more about catering options and drinks machines get in touch with Office Depot for a free catering audit.

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash