Workforce Health | By | 07/12/18 | 3 Minute Read

5 Refreshing Tips to Keep Employees Hydrated

Drinking enough water each day at work isn’t usually on the top of your employees’ to-do lists. But since the body is 60 percent water, drinking the recommended amount per day is one of the most vital components of maintaining good health. Water helps deliver oxygen throughout the body, lubricating joints and muscles and helping the immune system to fight germs. Having sufficient daily quantities also helps the digestive system, as dehydration can lead to painful kidney stones.

Water is also a key ingredient of weight control. In one study reported by WebMD, people on a diet ate 85 fewer calories per meal if they drank 16 oz. of water 30 minutes before mealtime. Over 12 weeks, they lost 5 lbs., which was 50 percent more than those who didn’t have water before the meal.

Although the benefits of drinking plenty of water are clear, 75 percent of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. This can affect not only your employee’s health, but also their daily productivity.  If a person loses even 1.5 percent of the body’s H20, mild dehydration can occur. The changes that can occur from dehydration include headaches, mood shifts, lower energy levels, and drops in cognitive function. In addition, excessive thirst is a symptom for people with diabetes, so they need to be extra diligent in managing daily liquid intake.

While the common rule of healthy water intake is 8×8, or eight 8 oz. glasses each day, the CDC sets the water bar even higher. The US Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) tables recommend that women have 91 oz. of water and men have 125 oz. daily, including water from beverages and foods.

To help employees hit those goals, you may need to be creative, providing extra incentives and options. Try these five ideas:

Log the daily dose. Encourage your employees to log water intake in their Fitbit accounts. A handful of apps that work with Fitbit, including Water Logged and Ionic Water, help employees accurately track their daily intake by number and quantity. These apps display visuals—tiny water bottles–on Fitbit smart watches, facilitating easy tracking. Another option that works with Fitbit is the Thermos® Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid, a connected bottle that uses sensors and continually monitors intake.

Make a splash with a drinking challenge. Who doesn’t want a snazzy, multi-colored, vacuum-insulated water bottle? Use daily water intake as a corporate challenge opportunity. Every employee who hits the recommended daily intake gets a premium (maybe even company-branded) water bottle.

Offer fruity snacks. We get about 20 percent of our necessary daily water from food, including vegetables and fruits. Review this list of five healthy foods for your employees and consider adding fresh fruit to your communal kitchen area. Those ranking highest in water content (in order) are: grapefruits (91.6 percent water), watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, lemons, peaches, and Asian pears. Further down the list is an office favorite, the apple, which contains a respectable 86.7 percent water.

Sparkle up the options. Dozens of different water carbonator machines are now available at a reasonable price for your office kitchen. Adding effervescence is eco-friendly compared to bottled or canned options and makes drinking water more enjoyable, without adding unnecessary sugar and calories.

Add hydration stations. While providing a modern water cooler in each department may sound cliché, giving employees a reason to regularly get up and refill their (reusable, of course) water bottles with fresh bottled or filtered water not only helps them stay hydrated, but doing so adds regular steps. And it may even lead to new connections as they gather around the cooler. Drink up!

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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