Water and work
Water at work
If you are among the majority of people who spend 60% of their active time at work, then you should not neglect your health during these hours. Drinking water is one of the easiest and most effective ways to take care of our health at the workplace.
The importance of proper hydration at the office
Did you know that office work dehydrates us almost as much as certain more physical jobs? Many factors such as workload, stress over deadlines and dry air due to air-conditioning or radiators in the office affect the normal functioning of our body and increase the loss of fluids even if there is no actual sweating. The loss of these fluids affects our health and, therefore, the way we work. We need to remind ourselves to drink water regularly because:
1) We focus better
Proper hydration is very important for physical and mental health. The human brain is made of up of 85% water and even mild dehydration can affect our mental state (e.g. concentration, reaction time and memory). Research has shown that when men and women are dehydrated, they are much more likely to feel tired and lethargic, and must put in more effort and focus than when they are adequately hydrated.
2) We maximize our performance
The loss of even 1-2% of our body water is quickly detected by our brain and results in a weakening of our mental abilities (e.g. arithmetic skills, short-term memory). Proper hydration helps improve our work and increase our productivity. The quality of our work remains high and we maximize our performance.
3) We remain alert
Dehydration can also cause headaches, fatigue and loss of concentration, affecting alertness levels. However, high-ranking executives who have to make important decisions or need to be alert for long hours must be able to think clearly; they can enhance their mental abilities simply by drinking 1 glass of water (250 mL) every 20 minutes. Also, proper hydration is a good way to alleviate symptoms of headaches caused by dehydration which, especially in the workplace, are doubly challenging.
4) We improve our relationship with our colleagues
Our mood and behavior in the workplace are affected by the loss of fluids in our body. We may feel restless, impatient, tired or stressed due to dehydration. Fatigue and bad mood, however, lead to mood swings or rude behavior. They create problems in our relationships with our colleagues and prevent us from building a team spirit. It has been observed, however, that employees do not get dehydrated solely in the workplace, but that they start their day with a lack of fluids in their body. We therefore recommend consuming water from the early morning hours and throughout the day.
Proper hydration benefits both employees and employers
Proper hydration is now adopted as a part of corporate culture. It has been proven that companies that offer their employees a healthy lifestyle, during their work, contribute to the well-being of employees, which ultimately benefits not only employees themselves, but also the companies. That’s why most companies have either bottled water coolers or mains-fed water coolers with filters to provide high quality clean water to their employees. All in all, having healthy workers means fewer absences, lower physical or mental fatigue, increased productivity, higher self-confidence and fewer workplace injuries.
Literature: «Hydration at work», natural hydration council, March 2011
“Hydration at the Work Site”, R.W.Kenefick, PhD & M.N.Sawka, PhD
“Working 9 to 5”, foodbev. magazine, 11/2012
“Hydration essential for a healthy body”, European hydration institute