When it comes to tackling inefficiency and boosting productivity in the workplace it can be difficult to know where you start. A common problem area can center around the mid-afternoon ‘3pm’ slump, which is known and renowned for downtime of productivity. Everything from coffee to naps to yoga has been offered as a cure, but more often than not, this issue can be solved with a simple glass of water.
Up to 75% of the U.S. adult population goes through their normal day at least mildly dehydrated. While the US population certainly consumes our fair share of caffeine and alcohol, when it comes to water, often the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day is overlooked. Waterlogic’s recent piece on dehydration and how it affects our lives proves this is not confined to the workforce, but affects all Americans, from childhood through to old age.
You may be surprised to know that the functionality of several organs, our cognitive ability and our mood are hindered to an alarming degree if our body’s total water content drops by as little as 1%. This can serve to reduce output while at work and result in employees becoming more vulnerable to illness, fatigue, and other conditions that cause them to call in sick or take leave. This usually also has an impact on workplace habits and practices.
Just as a healthy workplace can result in a healthy output, dehydration can result in cravings for unhealthy foods like candy bars and desserts, as employees seek to combat their tiredness by getting a temporary fix from a sugar high. Most concerning of all, dehydration is linked to a drop in physical and mental performance, as a 1% loss in hydration can result in a 12% decrease in productivity. This means even when work is undertaken and projects are completed, the efficiency at which employees work is unlikely to be at an optimal rate.
Finally, dehydration can even increase stress levels of your employees, as explained by Amanda Carlson, RD, Director of Performance Nutrition at Athletes’ Performance, and a trainer of world-class athletes:
“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of those stress hormones, and staying well-hydrated can keep your stress levels down.” Stress may be a silent plague upon productivity and in the estimation of experts it is a huge drain upon workplace productivity – but it can be easily combated with good hydration.
As an employer how can I improve hydration?
There are many ways an employer can improve staff hydration. Offering free drinks, providing breaks from work or to go the extra mile, even investing in a water cooler – which is among the very best ways an employer can boost office hydration. If you use a bottleless water cooler, you can also provide a limitless supply of pure great tasting water whilst looking after the environment. To make staying hydrated more fun and tasty you can even provide a variety of fruit, such as lemon, limes and strawberries and encourage employees to infuse their water with it. The vitamins and minerals provided through infusion have the potential to not only keep employees well hydrated but also boost immunity to virus and infections thanks to the Vitamin C in the citrus fruits.
As an employee how I can improve hydration?
Improving hydration within your daily life requires multiple steps. First, you need to know the warning signs. Common signs of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches and dizziness. Yet, it can go well beyond these symptoms alone as dehydration can also impact your mood adversely. This means if you find yourself feeling tired, cranky, angry, or stressed: a tall glass of cool water will usually go a long way to restoring your mood.
You can also monitor your body throughout the day. Skin turgor, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal, is an indication of hydration. Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds. When you let go, if the skin takes a while to return to its normal position, you may be dehydrated
Further, when properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow or clear in color. Dark yellow urine is a tell-tale sign of dehydration. While the passage of time between drinking liquids and needing to use the bathroom can vary, if you notice you are dehydrated seeking to drink a big glass of water right away, and do so on the hour over the next 2 hours. This shall begin to rehydrated your body, and restore your equilibrium.
It is also important you take proactive steps to avoid needlessly dehydrating your body. You can do this by avoiding caffeinated, carbonated, and sugary beverages like soda. These are diuretics and will cause you to urinate more, increasing dehydration.
Why Hydration Matters in the Workplace Infographic:
Good hydration is simpler than you might think. While it is easy become dehydrated, it is also easy to combat dehydration and its adverse effects on productivity. As an employer, ensuring your office promotes a ‘hydration culture’ in the workplace by providing hydration stations, infusers, and water bottles are just a few ways you can positively impact your team’s productivity.
As an employee, taking proactive steps in your own day to stay hydrated shall be beneficial to your work, and your overall career. Do this by drinking water regularly, and monitoring for any signs of dehydration.
Ultimately, whether employer or employee, a pro-hydration approach to your work shall ensure you get the very most of your work and day, each day and every day – and avoid the challenges and trials that arise from dehydration in the workplace.
About the Author:
Digital Marketing Coordinator – Waterlogic
Stephen is the digital marketing coordinator within Waterlogic’s central ecommerce team. Focusing on creating informative and educational online content that discusses what’s new and exciting in the world of workplace water.