By Mark Taylor, Group CCO, Waterlogic
Many of us know that we should be drinking more water. We also know that getting enough hydration throughout the day makes us healthier. In fact, keeping hydrated is proven to make people more alert and more productive – a business benefit that many may be unaware of. In a 2019 report, 75% of respondents that have access to a water dispenser said that it increased their productivity and concentration a lot. In addition to this, the impact of sickness that can be caused by a lack of wellbeing, including dehydration, costs the UK economy £77.5 billion per year – showing that it is worth investing in ways to keep staff healthier and happier.
A reported 67% of people admit to being more afraid of germs and aware of hygiene since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that solutions need to be found that are sustainable yet also give sanitation reassurance to those using them and to the workplaces providing them. Without this peace of mind, people may reach for bottled water or not drink enough during the working day at all, even though they should be drinking eight glasses (half a gallon) a day.
While single-use plastics have been encouraged during the pandemic in an effort to slow transmission rates, this behaviour must be discouraged moving forward. At the same time, people’s anxieties about a post-pandemic world should also be considered and alleviated. Therefore, as we return to the workplace, businesses mustn’t avoid their responsibility of providing or prioritising good hydration tools or neglecting hygiene concerns and, as a result, must provide a safe and sustainable hydration solution.
As well as workplace hydration being better for the physical and mental health of employees, sustainable hydration is also an issue that many want to see their employers tackling head-on. Half of people surveyed said that the reduction of single-use plastics in the office should be a joint effort, while 72% thought their employer could do more.
Ensuring that the water provided is from a sustainable source is a way for businesses to show their employees and the rest of the world that they are serious about making a difference, being socially responsible and helping to save the planet. This could even be an opportunity to rethink their own environmental, social and governance (ESG) agendas to reflect the importance of being more sustainable, as well as encouraging a healthier lifestyle for all.
The case for a sustainable hydration solution
But what are the benefits of encouraging hydration among employees, and how can water be provided in a more sustainable way? Firstly, companies need to be able to show that the water they provide is safe for consumption, especially as 26% of those surveyed chose not to use a sink tap that was available to them as they didn’t trust where the water came from. In addition to this, it is worth noting that tap water contains chlorine which is a carcinogen. Filtration-only devices filter chemicals like chlorine, which makes the water more palatable but also strips it of protection against bacteria and viruses. When combined with filtration, UV purification offers levels of bacterial and viral protection whilst stripping harmful chemicals and letting the essential minerals through. By using a dual filtration and purification system, businesses can be confident that they are providing the very safest hydration while also showing that their efforts are sustainable.
Dehydration can cause a number of health issues, including headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, muscle cramps and even mood swings – none of which are ideal for the working environment. When not drinking enough, it’s easy for employees, whether working at home or in the workplace, to feel unmotivated or sluggish, which has a knock-on effect on businesses – unproductive workers cost UK businesses an estimated £143 billion per year. In addition to this, dehydration can also impact workers’ susceptibility to stress and their immune system, leading to more sick days taken – which is another drain on bottom lines.
By providing safe and clean drinking water that is easily available to employees, businesses also show that they care for their staff and their wellbeing, as well as the planet at large. More than ever, staff are looking to those in charge with the expectation that they take an ethical approach. In fact, 83% of employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues – something that organisations and businesses cannot ignore.
Gone are the days where a lone water cooler in the building and plastic cups are deemed enough. To support the future of the workforce, whether that’s in an office environment, school, hospital, restaurant, shop or warehouse, businesses and organisations must ensure that they are providing safe and clean water regularly to their staff. Not only will this show employees that they are supported, but it will also provide health and wellness benefits. While doing so, businesses must also consider how they can provide the most sustainable and ethical water source and be a part of protecting our planet and reversing climate change.