There is a saying — you can take the camel to the (source of) water but can’t make him drink it. This is not so.
Companies where employees drink sufficient amount of water end up with higher profit and productivity. Believe it or not making employees consume more water and that too more frequently may prove to be an inexpensive way to boost productivity.
Water intake by the employees translates into increased productivity, energy and engagement. Lack of adequate hydration can lead to symptoms like tiredness, loss of concentration and headache. Research studies have proved that employees who do not drink enough water, experience poor health, low energy, as well as sluggish working capacity and productivity.
Employees, who drink adequate amount of water throughout the day, witness an increase in their energy level and work output. Even the slightest of amount of dehydration can make them feel sleepy, lethargic and inattentive. Dehydration can affect a person’s mood, concentration and make them liable to commit mistakes and accidents.
The tell-tale signs of dehydration are– dryness in the mouth and increased thirst. This at times may be accompanied by other signs like fatigue, headache and dizziness.
According to a study, dehydrated drivers are likely to make almost the same type and number of mistakes as drunk drivers on the road.
It is hence, in the larger interest of the companies to encourage the employees to frequently drink several glasses of water during office hours.
But the moot question however is, “how do companies change the (drinking) habits of its employees and make them drink more water throughout the day?”
According to a research by Quench, a filtered water system provider, more than 75% employees do not consume sufficient water, daily. A common reason behind inadequate water consumption is lack of thirst. Some of the other reasons behind this is laziness, lack of time to get the water or unpleasant taste of the water at the workplace.
One of the solution for Companies is to ensure that employees do not have to go far to drink water in the office and that fresh and purified water is available at central locations, near the workstations.
It may also be a good idea to initiate an in-house communication campaign for the employees, explaining the benefits of staying hydrated through the day.
The amount of water consumed by the employees should be an integral part of a well-planned corporate wellness strategy. This is because; thirst is not always a consistent and timely indicator of dehydration. At times, dehydration has already set in by the time a person feels the sensation of thirst.
Some of the other facts about drinking water habits revealed by the study indicate that men drink more water than women. While 27 per cent of men consume enough water to meet their health needs, only 20 per cent women drink sufficient water.
26 per cent of the Generation Y workforce consumes enough water during the work day as compared to Gen X (21 per cent) and the baby boomers or senior citizens (20 per cent).
The minimum intake of water required may vary from person to person, but anything between 1.5 to 2 liters of water, a day is the average that doctors recommend.
Delayed Reaction Time
The drop in productivity of a worker is directly proportional to the level or magnitude of dehydration.
Just one percent dehydration can decrease a worker’s productivity by 12 percent and lead to symptoms like slower reaction times, decreased cognitive abilities, reduced concentration and alertness.
About 3-4 per cent dehydration can lead to 25 per cent decline in productivity and slow reaction time — equal to a person with .08 alcohol content in his blood stream. Such a person is five times more likely to be involved in a road or workplace accident.
Impaired Physical and Mental Performance
Dehydration can reduce mental as well as physical performance and lead to slow and sluggish employees in the work place.
Increased work load, stress, long journeys to and from work and air conditioning are some of the other causes of dehydration in the workplace and water loss from the lungs and the skin.
Drink a lot of water!!
It is the one and only way to prevent dehydration in the workplace. Drink water before you begin your shift and remember to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day. Don’t wait for symptoms of thirst — which might be a sign that dehydration has already set in.