Americans are more aware than ever of every facet of their personal fitness and wellness. Few among us have escaped a bombardment of messages about new ways to change up our diet, exercise routine and lifestyle to positively impact our health and well-being.
Even employers have gotten into the act as they now know a healthier employee is a more productive employee. Companies are spending close to $8 billion 1 a year on corporate wellness programs for their employees that include everything from health club memberships, nutritious snacks and cafeteria options, health screenings and coaching, weight loss and smoking cessation programs, to meditation rooms and more.
And yet, despite those big bucks, new research 2 finds that most American employees don’t consume enough of the one resource that is largely available, very inexpensive and essential to health and productivity: water. According to the survey, nearly eighty percent of American employees don’t consume enough water on a daily basis to meet their health needs. This suggests employers may be missing one of the most simple and inexpensive wellness measures they can provide — encouraging employees to drink more water during the day and making it convenient for them to do so.
Our bodies are comprised of about 60 percent water.
We all know we must drink water to survive, but how much is enough for our daily health needs? Our bodies are comprised of about 60 percent water. As we lose it daily through perspiration, breathing and other bodily functions, it must be replaced to keep our brain, heart, lungs and other vital organs working efficiently. While opinions and studies vary on how much water we should optimally consume each day, there is widespread agreement that most people don’t drink enough.
So what happens when we consume less than we should? Experts say that even mild dehydration — meaning a loss of less than two percent of body weight – can have a negative impact on productivity, energy, and alertness. Several studies including one published in the Journal of Nutrition 3 have found that mild dehydration can result in:
- Poor mood
- Increased difficulty performing tasks
- Less concentration
Thirst is not an on-time indicator of dehydration.
Drinking more water would seem to be an easy remedy to the afternoon lethargy many employees experience, but workers cite numerous barriers to drinking as much water as they should. For millennials, the largest generation in the workforce, the most frequently cited reason for not drinking more water at work is lack of thirst. While that might seem logical, experts say that thirst is not an on-time indicator of dehydration, as we don’t feel thirsty until after we are mildly dehydrated. Other reasons include not having enough time to get water, having to pay for water and not trusting or liking the taste of the water at work.
For employers looking to encourage employees to drink more water during the workday, there are multiple options to consider. Given concerns raised by employees about not having enough time to get water during the day try this quick thirst-quenching tips:
- Review floor plans to ensure easy access to water sources
- Provide fresh, free, filtered, great-tasting water that doesn’t run out
- Create engaging campaigns that encourage hydration, productivity, and health
American employees know they should drink more water throughout the day but too often they don’t. Quench research offers a glimpse at many of the reasons you should consider when thinking about encouraging employees to drink more water. While pricey corporate wellness programs play an important role, incorporating a spotlight on the benefits of increased hydration is an inexpensive approach that should not be overlooked.
- Turk, S. (2016). Corporate Wellness Services in the US. IBISWorld. Retrieved from p.4.
- Quench Survey of 1,000+ American Workers, Spring 2018
- The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 142, Issue 2, 1 February 2012, Pages 382–388, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.142000
About the Contributor // Tony Ibarguen is the CEO of Quench, a US-based provider of point-of-use filtered water systems. Quench is a subsidiary of AquaVenture Holdings (NYSE: WAAS).
About Quench // Quench USA, Inc. offers “Water-as-a-Service”™ solutions by providing filtered water systems, including bottleless water coolers, ice machines, sparkling water dispensers, and coffee brewers, to customers across the United States. Our point-of-use (POU) systems purify a building’s existing water supply to provide cost-effective, convenient, and sustainable filtered water to a broad mix of end-markets, including government, education, medical, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and other large commercial customers, including more than half of the Fortune 500. Headquartered outside of Philadelphia, Quench is an independent operating company of AquaVenture Holdings™ (NYSE:WAAS).