Statistics from 2004 show that illness absence (with 168 million working days lost) costs UK employers a staggering £12b a year. It was noted that good hydration contributes to workers’ health and safety, and that even mild levels of dehydration adversely affected performance. The importance then of providing drinking water, whether in the form of drinking fountains or water coolers, to ensure staff members remain properly hydrated has not been lost on many of the more responsible industry sectors.
In 2007 the Royal College of Nursing published a Hydration Best Practice Toolkit – the aim was to better inform employees across the various health care fields, how important it was to remain properly hydrated and what the benefits were of drinking enough water. Of the many fact-sheets included in the toolkit, one is particularly pertinent, because it looked specifically at the importance of Water in the Workplace and how that affects productivity – a key performance indicator for any business.
Let’s begin with what constitutes good hydration. The amount we should be drinking each day depends on a number of factors, but there is an ideal range dependant on gender – if you’re male, you should be frequenting water coolers more often than women, because you need between 1.2 and 3 litres of water per day, while women need less – between 1.2 and 2.2 litres.
According to the fact-sheet, these are some of the early signs of dehydration:
Light-headedness, dizziness, tiredness, irritability, headache, sunken features (particularly the eyes), flushed skin, heat intolerance, dry mouth, throat and eyes, and skin that is loose and lacks elasticity. There may be a burning sensation in the stomach, urine output will be reduced, and may appear darker than usual.
Throughout the day we lose water from our bodies in a variety of ways: urine, evaporation from our lungs and skin when we breathe, perspiration, and a small amount is lost in faeces. Environmental factors also play a part in how much water we lose each day, and our bodies only perform efficiently if we restore the water balance. In order to do so we need to be vigilant about consuming fluids and there needs to be easy access to drinking water throughout the day. In Part II of this two-part blog series we take a closer look at the health and performance benefits of remaining hydrated, and how that benefits productivity during the work day. In the interim, for a wide variety of high-quality water coolers, whether Bottled or Mains Fed, whether to buy or rent, call AquAid today.