Growing up, we’ve always been cautioned to stay hydrated; “drink six to eight glasses of water every day” is the common warning. Many people shrug it off, but dehydration is no joke. In fact, water is so important to every day health and well being, that the Canadian government includes it as one of the required provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. It states: “Every employer shall provide potable water for drinking, personal washing and food preparation that meets the standards set out in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality 1978…”
Benefits of Hydrating
Providing potable water in the workplace isn’t just a requirement, it’s a benefit. Workplaces that provide an adequate, quality source of water see improved performance and better inner-office working relationships.
Increased water consumption is proven to increase overall health, productivity, concentration, energy levels, working relations and weight loss; and to reduce illness (and thus sick days), short-term memory loss, mood swings, headaches, tiredness, irritability, stress and anxiety.
Water is also fat-free, carb-free, calorie-free, sugar-free and caffeine-free – it’s the all-natural weight loss drink that requires no prep time. Simply pour and enjoy.
Office Water Trends
Water is found in the workplace in one of the following forms:
- Individual bottles of water
- Vending machines with water bottles
- Jugged water (most common)
- Filtered water
Surveys of consumers, specifically those who work in offices, have found that 65% want bottled water as a free office refreshment service, and 40% would be willing to pay for it from a vending machine. Trumping those statistics is the 70% of workplaces that offer free filtered or jugged water to employees, making free water second only to free hot coffee at work.
Each form has it’s benefits and draw backs.
Individual bottles of water become very expensive, especially if the employer is buying name-brand water. There are also complications when it comes to storage – if we do the math, an office of 20 people needs roughly 600 bottles of water each week in order to keep everyone hydrated.
Vending machines provide employees with a variety of beverage options, only one of which is a bottle of water. It’s attractive to the employer because the employee bears the burden of the expense; however, the vending machine is bulky and can take up space.
Jugged water is the most common form of office drinking water. It is more efficient than individual bottles of water and takes up less space than a vending machine. There are, however, many limitations to the jugged water system:
- Changing the empty water jugs is a cumbersome task that many people won’t even attempt, let alone implement.
- The used and unused jugs need to be stored, taking up valuable space in the storage area or even creating an eyesore in the break room.
- Ensuring the cleanliness of the water cooler is difficult and unregulated, compromising the quality of the water.
All of the above options require a separate provider to deliver the water (and other beverages in the case of the vending machine). This means another vendor and monthly invoice for the employer to juggle. Also, supplies are limited by how much water is delivered each week.
Office Water Filtration Systems
Filtered water systems are gaining popularity. The units are connected directly to the office’s water supply; local water is filtered and purified by the unit’s specialized technology and processed to eliminate sediment, parasitic microorganisms and chemicals. In some systems, the water is then stored in a tank, waiting to be dispensed.The best, healthiest solution today is direct flow technology – holding tanks have been eliminated and clean, cool, fresh, healthy water is dispensed with the turn of a handle.
Water filtration and purifying systems are beneficial for the employees and the employer:
- The units are attractive and won’t deter from the visual aesthetics of the office or break room.
- Fresh, filtered and purified still or sparkling water is always available at the turn of a handle.
- Each unit provides healthy hydration with great taste.
- ROI through employee appreciation, health, attitude and productivity.
- Eco-friendly, it’s a green product you and you staff can be proud of.
- On average, cost is less than the present solutions with more benefits.
- There are minimal space requirements.
- No storage and recycling necessary.
It may be the best decision you make for you and your colleagues this year.