The hotter the weather, the quicker our bodies dehydrate, especially when we exercise or do physical tasks. That is why the hot weather always brings out reminders about the importance of staying hydrated. Businesses should be encouraging employees to drink more water. This is important because if your staff aren’t drinking enough water, it may affect your company’s bottom line.
The science is pretty clear on this subject. Dehydration “impairs cognitive performance, particularly for tasks involving attention, executive function, and motor coordination.” Even mild dehydration (1.5% of body mass loss) can have an effect, with impairment worsening the more dehydrated you are.
Being dehydrated also makes us tired. That’s because water carries nutrients around our bodies, and also takes the waste products away. If you’re not fully hydrated, you’ll impede this function meaning you’re not getting enough nutrients, making you feel more tired and sluggish. All of which will affect productivity.
So while it isn’t a requirement for you to encourage your employees to stay hydrated in the hot weather, it’s definitely a good idea.
Water doesn’t have to be plain in order to hydrate. It has long been supposed that caffeine has a diuretic effect, but the good news for tea and coffee lovers is that this is a myth. Not everyone likes tea and coffee, so encourage them to keep drinking by providing a range of flavours for hot and cold drinks such as, herbal teas and squash.
However, it’s important to be aware that studies have shown that ice cold and fizzy drinks may not be as refreshing as you’d think. Although they give you the impression that they quench your thirst more quickly than plain water, one experiment found people drank less before feeling satisfied - even those who were really thirsty. It gave them a false sense of satisfaction resulting in them underestimating the amount of liquid they’d drunk and making them 50% less likely to drink water afterwards. So in fact, drinking cold, fizzy drinks could mean you don’t actually drink as much as you need, leaving you dehydrated.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with water. By offering employees a tempting fruit bowl, you’ll also be encouraging them to stay hydrated. And they’ll also be taking on essential natural vitamins and minerals by getting one of their five a day!
Single-use plastic water bottles are not only clogging up our seas, there are also increasing fears over the health impacts of the microplastics that enter the water as the plastic slowly breaks down. Microplastics have been found in fish, animals and humans.
So rather than have a fridge full of plastic bottled water, provide every member of staff with a reusable bottle they can keep on their desk and fill up at the tap or water cooler that’s connected to your water system. Alternatively, invest in a tap that provides chilled water - they also provide instant boiling water, with the added benefit that staff will spend less time waiting for the kettle to boil whenever they fancy a cuppa.
By using insulated steel water bottles that keep chilled water colder for hours at a time, even on the hottest days, your staff will be more likely to continue using them throughout the day. After a morning sitting on your desk, a glass of water becomes warm and unappetising, whereas the water in an insulated bottle remains chilled and refreshing. If you’ve got chilled water in easy reach, you’re much more likely to take regular sips throughout the day.
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