09 Nov How important is it to keep your employees hydrated?
According to the national hydration council, research has shown that a decrease in hydration as little as 2% in bodyweight water can lead to greater feelings of fatigue and reduced levels of alertness. Not only this but it can be a significant contributor to a person’s overall mood.
Increasing research has also suggested that hydration status can affect cognitive function, which is a concern when trying to get employees working at optimal. If someone is severely dehydrated it can reduce short term memory and the ability to process and interpret visual information.
Aside from the health implications it is therefore essential to keep employees hydrated if a workplace is to be at it’s best.
So why aren’t we drinking enough?
It is a simple concept to drink more but busy schedules, increased work load and overconsumption of caffeine all contribute to poor hydration levels. Many people simply ‘forget’ to keep hydrated.
Consuming large amounts of caffeinated drinks such as coffee can contribute to dehydration due to the diuretic nature of caffeine. This can all directly impact how an employee works and functions throughout the working day.
It is worth noting that certain work places and conditions can increase our chances of becoming dehydrated. Work places with air conditioning can speed up moisture evaporation from the skin and lungs which increases water losses. For those working in warm environments or have physical jobs, perspiration rates speed up which increases the need for water. Knowing your workplaces hydration needs could be a key step to helping keep your employees hydrated.
Factors you could consider for your work place:
- Access to water
- Barriers to water consumption
- Heavy strenuous work
- Air conditioning
- Warm environment
- Working at altitude
How much should someone drink per day?
The European Food Safety Authority recommends a total water intake of 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women per day via food and drink. Ideally 70-80% should come from drinks and 20-30% from foods. The main source of hydration should come from water.
Key tips for the individual to keep hydrated
- Start the day with a glass of water – Drinking water first thing will give your body a number of health benefits as well as building better habits for the rest of the day.
- Carry a bottle of water with you – Put simply if you don’t have access to water, you’re not going to be able to drink it. Put a bottle of water in your work bag or have one on your desk. If it’s in front of you, you’re much more likely to keep hydrated.
- Check your urine colour – This is a direct indication of your hydration level. Dark coloured urine and low output is an indicator that you’re dehydrated.
- Know the signs – If you are feeling tired, have a headache or feel dizzy this could be a sign you’re dehydrated. If this is the case make sure you drink more water.
Tips for the employer
- Employers are required by law to ensure workers have adequate access to safe water. Make sure all employees have access to a safe water supply which is accessible and ensure cups or drinking vessels are supplied.
- Ensure you are giving employees enough time to drink water.
- Remind employees to drink water – Place posters or signs in the workplace.
- Encourage good hydration levels as much as possible. Highlight the benefits of keeping hydrated and the signs of dehydration.
Keeping your employees hydrated could be a simple solution to keeping your workforce productive, healthier and potentially happier.
We would recommend accessing your current situation and take action if needed.