Irrespective of whether or not you believe in climate change, there’s no denying that the stats resulting from the radically changing weather patterns year on year or the crucial drop in natural water supply globally speak volumes:
844 Million People – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water.
200 Million Hours are spent every day collecting water.
2.3 Billion People – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet.
One third of the global population lives without access to a toilet.
The ramifications of these stats and the volume of people it affects can seem quite daunting in terms of how to address this global issue. There is good news though: there are multiple organisations around the world that continue, every day, to provide sustainable solutions to the lack of water as well as adequate sanitation to those in need.
Sustainability may seem like the buzz word of the millennium – bandied about without much meaning, but the truth of it is – sustainability is vital in the provision of water and sanitation to those for who access to water is an ongoing fight for actual survival.
Sustainable water projects are those that include both short term and long term solutions which pave the way forward by enabling a community to begin water related projects that may provide them with a capacity to earn an income or to trade their produce or services to others.
There’s much truth in the adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’, but before we implement this philosophy, help is needed to provide water to communities that more often than not, do not have the most basic of infrastructures for a steady supply of water.
That’s why here at AquAid Water Coolers we have, since our humble beginnings more than two decades ago, partnered with charities that not only provide emergency relief but also sustainable solutions to poverty around the globe, as is the case with Christian Aid and in the case of the Africa Trust, throughout Africa.
To learn more about the work that these organisations carry out, visit us at our website and see how your water and water cooler purchases are making a visible positive difference to others. Alternatively, if you are not yet an AquAid customer, but would like to find out more about how your drinking water translates into sustainable clean water provision for people in need, please contact us: we’ll be delighted to assist.
Today, 01 July, is International Joke Day. From what I’ve seen online this seems to have produced the lamest jokes instead of those that produce that involuntary snort where you spray your first glass of water or morning cuppa all over your desk.
Perhaps a Monday is not the right day to spring such an event on the unsuspecting though – early Mondays are usually the reserve of tired brains and bodies. There is a solution though – one that will elevate you from ‘chicken crossing the road’ unfunnies to the lofty cerebral wit similar to those of your favourite comedian. All it takes is an increase in water intake, which means more visits to the water cooler.
- For the brain cells to function properly there needs to be a balance between water and various compounds.
- When we fail to drink enough water, this balance is disrupted and there is a decline in cognitive performance.
Also dehydration can cause neural pathways to shut down. As a result, the section of the brain responsible for planning and problem-solving starts struggling.
- There has also been research which shows that staying hydrated helps an individual’s brain to operate faster. Those who drink as little of 500ml of water prior to engaging in mental activities were 14% faster than those who did not drink. If you feel like your concentration is drifting, try drinking a glass of water and your brain will resume normal functioning within seconds.
- Another example of not drinking enough water is low mood swings. Think of it this way – there are two core factors that determine an individual’s mood: energy and motivation. Drinking enough water ensures that you stay energised and motivated.
Now that you’ve wrapped your Monday brain around this wit propulsion information, why not head off to your water cooler , replenish your water and improve the general Monday mood for yourself and your fellow office goers by delivering the best jokes they’ve heard.
The University of Warwick led a study to determine whether happy employees work harder, and as it turns out they do – in fact, they’re 12% more productive.
The study included four different experiments with more than 700 participants. During the experiments participants were shown either a comedy clip or treated to free chocolates, fruit and drinks; while others were questioned about recent family tragedies, to assess whether lower levels of happiness were later on associated with lower levels of productivity.
One of the researchers, Dr Sgroi, added: ‘The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.’
So what does this have to do with a water cooler you might ask?
Well, if we know that happier employees work harder and are more productive, then it stands to reason that we’ll want to encourage happiness wherever we can! And one of the things conducive to happiness is a healthy body, and one of the factors contributing to that, is ensuring we remain properly hydrated – ergo, regular visits to the office water cooler.
Many companies provide additional perks like gym memberships and healthcare plans, but if you’re not a Google or an Apple, your budget will probably not run that high, so here are 5 suggestions that any business can implement which will help make your office a happier (and therefore more productive) place to work:
- Build respect and trust
- Have a positive office culture
- Acknowledge, recognise and reward employees who work hard
- Encourage growth and creativity, and
- Ensure open communication at all times.
Many of us spend more time at work than we do at home, so aim to make your office a happy place to work and you’ll end up with happier, more engaged, and more productive employees!
The principle function of a water cooler is to dispense water – that invaluable natural resource that none of us can live without. Naturally we talk about water a lot, how it allows our bodies to perform optimally, how it improves our health, lifts our mood and increases our productivity in the office. We also talk about the lack of water for people in third world countries and how AquAid established the Africa Trust to help bring clean and safe drinking water to impoverished communities. But there’s also the poetic side of water – the side that acts as a symbol, the side that inspires, which we don’t touch on frequently, so here are a few of our favourite water related musings, courtesy of Everyday Power :
Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. – Lao Tzu
A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us. – Lucy Larcom
The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone. – Lucretius
When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water. – Benjamin Franklin
When life places stones in your path, be the water. A persistent drop of water will wear away even the hardest stone. ― Autumn Morning Star
Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container. ― Wallace Stevens
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.― W. H. Auden
All water is holy water. ― Rajiv Joseph
Love, like a river, will cut a new path whenever it meets an obstacle. – Crystal Middlemas
Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.― Santosh Kalwar
You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. – Rabindranath Tagore
A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence. – Jim Watkins
In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence. ― Kahlil Gibran
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.― Mahatma Gandhi
Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine. – Slovakian Proverb
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.― Ryunosuke Satoro
There’s an interesting article in Psychology Today that looks at office productivity and what factors have a positive influence on our ability to perform better. Turns out socialising and water cooler chats are not the time waster that management often thinks it is.
MIT developed a wearable badge embedded with a radio transceiver, a microphone, a microprocessor, and a set of motion sensors which tracks and records information about the wearer – their location, direction and voice inflections. These are measured during the day doing different tasks; including meeting colleagues face-to-face and socialising – the data recorded is then compared with the wearers’ productivity.
One such study was done in a call centre and they found that employees who are more cohesive – defined as how connected work friends are with each other, whether they talk to each other or not, and how interconnected everyone is – all positively influences their productivity and job satisfaction.
In a similar study it also showed that group cohesion – the result of bonding and chatting and spending time catching up around the water cooler – was a central predictor of productivity. Employees whose group cohesion was in the top third showed more than a 10% increase in productivity. In addition to that, the study also showed that the larger the network of people one knew, the more productive one was.
This just goes to show that socialising is not time wasted. The time you spend chatting about the weekend, your son’s rugby match or where you’re off to next on holiday, all while you wait your turn at the water cooler are important building blocks towards feeling that you are relatable and belong – a cohesion that ultimately makes you a happier and more productive employee.
World Environment Day 2019 focused on air pollution and how we need to clean up our act (no pun intended) – those scary facts are that 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air and that it causes 7 million premature deaths annually!
Over the years there have been various other themes, many spotlighting pollution of our natural resources – water for example, we know our water cooler water is pure, but we also take it for granted, living in first world countries as we do, that the water we swim in and drink from our taps is also clean, but that’s not always the case. Water pollution has a fatal effect on our surroundings, here courtesy of Seametrics, are the frightening facts:
- ‘Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water (UN WWAP 2003), the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.’
- ‘Tens of millions of people in Bangladesh have been exposed to poisonous levels of arsenic from contaminated groundwater.’
- ‘In developing countries, 70% of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters, polluting the usable water supply.’
- ‘More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.’
- ‘About 10% of America’s beaches fail to meet the federal benchmark for what constitutes safe swimming water.’
- ‘Federal authorities estimate that the headwaters of 40% of Western rivers are tainted with toxic discharge from abandoned mines.’
- ‘More than 70% of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted, government reports have said, and almost half may contain water that is unfit for human consumption or contact.’
- ‘Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.’
- ‘Industry dumps an estimated 300-400 MT of polluted waste in waters every year.’
- ‘Nitrate from agriculture is the most common chemical contaminant in the world’s groundwater aquifers.’