Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.
Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include:
• feeling thirsty and lightheaded
• a dry mouth
• having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
• passing urine less often than usual
It is well known how dangerous and potentially life threatening severe dehydration can be, but what of the effects of mild dehydration? According to scientists the feeling of thirst that we all experience, is often an indication that our bodies are already becoming dehydrated. In fact a recent study concluded that even mild dehydration can affect our mood and ability to concentrate. Feelings of thirst, fatigue and irritability are subtle warnings from our body that fluid is needed to restore equilibrium and to stop further symptoms such as headaches and dizziness developing.
Adults should aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily to keep us adequately hydrated, more if we are exercising. It is easy in the workplace when deadlines are looming and despite your best efforts your inbox refuses to shrink, to forget to do something as simple as have a drink. We often attribute fatigue, headaches and diminishing concentration in the office to pressure and stress, when actually we should be heading to the water cooler and nourishing our hardworking brains and bodies with that life sustaining substance, water!
So next time you start to feel those tell-tale signs, you know what to do!
In the UK 60% of the population drink just one glass or less of water a day, while only 1 in 250 of us are drinking enough water to function to our full potential.
Every one of us is made up of water, broken down our muscle mass consists of 75% water; our bones; 22%, while our blood is 83% water, and our brain consists of a staggering 90% water. To function properly and remain healthy we need to be hydrated. In return, we will benefit in both our personal and professional life.
Heightened mental alertness
Dehydration is, simply, what happens when the body loses more water than it takes in. By being as little as 2% under hydrated, cognitive ability, memory retention, mathematical skills, visual perception and reasoning, all diminish as an effect. Simply, even the slightest loss of water leads to poor mental alertness and negatively impacts productivity in the work place. So while lack of water leads to a reduction in awareness, problems with focus, and poor short-term memory, as well as other negative symptoms, a properly hydrated body and brain are able to function clearly, quickly, and perform to their full ability.
A more energy-efficient brain
According to a study conducted at King’s College London, as well as causing weakened mental alertness, dehydration also forces the brain to worker harder to achieve the same results. The study tested dehydrated teenagers against their hydrated counterparts, and found that the under hydrated subjects showed heightened activity in the brain’s frontal-parietal region during a problem solving task. Yet, despite that surge of brainpower, there was no improvement in brain performance. The concluding evidence; tasks literally seem harder. The dehydrated brain uses a greater source of energy to accomplish the same tasks.
A less fatigued workforce
As well as a reduced cognitive ability, at the price of an overworking brain, dehydration, even the smallest amount, can cause increased tiredness and fatigue. Lowered mental alertness and heightened fatigue do not bode well for a healthy and productive work day. A 2015 survey of 300 GPs found that one in five GP visits for tiredness often had dehydration as the root cause. While, only four per cent of the doctors surveyed said they believed patients were aware of how much water they should be drinking daily.
A happier workforce
When blood cells lose more water than they gain the result is fatigue, sluggishness, confusion and irritability. Dehydration in more extreme cases can lead to anxiety, tension and even depression. As well as drinking more water, small breaks throughout the workday also aid mood improvement. In fact, a small 15 second break every ten minutes when you’re staring at a screen for hours, can reduce fatigue by 50%. That could fit a slurp of water in at your desk.
While, according to another survey, 59% of people claim more breaks would actually improve their work happiness. That’s a lot of evidence that a break to hydrate throughout the workday could improve employee job satisfaction as well as improve productivity.
Relieved muscles and joints
Along with those mood and energy deficits, poor hydration can cause muscle and joint discomfort. The hydration you receive when you drink the amount of water your body needs helps lubricate and cushion joints. While, in a study of workers suffering forearm, wrist, and hand discomfort, taking a break for five minutes once every hour eliminated the pain. We suggest taking a short break to hydrate at the water machine once an hour to maximise comfort as well as energy and creativity. Although five minutes isn’t a huge amount of time, it should allow you to top up your water levels, give you a chance to rest your eyes, and stand and stretch. The simply action of reaching upwards drives oxygen to the brain and helps you feel more alert. While, a twenty-second break to rest your eyes can relive eye strain symptoms – try shifting your gaze 20 ft. away.
Headaches are a common symptom of hydration and a reason many employees take days off work. A dehydrated brain with low levels of water in the brain tissue causes shrinkage and the brain begins to pull away from the skull. As a result, pain receptors surrounding the brain are triggered, resulting in a headache. A lack of water also causes your blood volume to drop which, as a result lowers the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. As well as improving general health and preventing headaches, staying hydrated can even prevent more serious illnesses such as colon cancer. Less sick days are better for the business as well as the employees’ health, workload and stress levels.
Like most people, you are probably sedentary for most of your working hours. To help prevent stiff and sore muscles, take a break at least once an hour. Go for a short walk and grab yourself a refreshing cup of coffee, for example.
Lunchtime is the time of the working day that most people look forward to. Research commissioned by Lurpak to launch its new “go freestyle” campaign, however, reveals that 32% of UK office workers eat the same thing for lunch every day and have done so for more than four years!
This statistic is astonishing, as there are so many great lunch options out there. So what are Brits eating, day in day out?
Turn your average glass of water into a revitalising treat by adding a squeeze of orange. This will also provide your body with an excellent source of Vitamin C. You could try adding some crushed fresh mint leaves instead.
Drinking water keeps your mind clear and focused on the task at hand. Apps such as Daily Water helps you track the amount of fluid you drink and reminds you to drink water at the right time.
4. Get yourself a water bottle
Use a pen to mark time goals for yourself on the bottle. For example, by 10am you will aim to drink a quarter of the bottle. This is a good way of working out how many litres of water you are drinking on a daily basis.
5. Eat your water
Do you find it difficult to drink your daily water recommendation? Then how about eating foods that will aid hydration, such as cucumber and lettuce?
It’s a phenomenon as controversial as it is intriguing: the Nutshell napping pod. Pitched as ‘a pod-inspired platform for productive break-taking,’ this new invention not only allows you to sleep on the job but actually encourages it. The Nutshell was designed by Eden Lew, an MFA student at New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA), who states that it’s all about ‘promoting the psychological benefits of solitude.’ Although a sale date for the Nutshell has not yet been confirmed, people are already getting excited about the prospect of a workday nap.
Image courtesy of Eden Lew / productsofdesign.sva.edu
Get snug and take a snooze
The Nutshell is a collapsible, wearable product that allows you to enjoy a quick snooze in the workplace. The portable pod provides the wearer with a few moments of privacy to refuel their brain and refresh for the remainder of the day. Worn like an everyday scarf, the Nutshell simply wraps around the wearer’s neck and gives them the space to refocus without any standard workplace distractions. Lew’s design is suitable for all ages and sizes and offers instant access to an isolated environment when the working day is particularly stressful or tiring.
The benefits of napping
In our post on coffee naps, we discussed how fitting a power nap into the workday can help you and your staff become more productive – and the Nutshell provides the perfect space for you to snooze in private. An article by the NHS claims that energy slumps in the workplace most commonly occur around 2:16pm – and with studies proving that fatigue at work can be a genuine hazard, a power nap might be the ideal solution. If employees aren’t alert as they need to be to perform safely and effectively, this can lead to unnecessary accidents – but a 20 minute nap could potentially eliminate that risk.
Image courtesy of Eden Lew / productsofdesign.sva.edu
Do we need the ‘Nutshell’?
While taking a nap in the office sounds like the perfect way to get us through the working day, is it something we really need? In an environment where social interaction and productivity are key to creating a successful team, there is an argument that the Nutshell might have the adverse effect – actually encouraging isolation as a result. If you’d rather power through the working day nap-free, there are other ways to help your staff stay energised. By staying hydrated all day, we can keep our minds and bodies alert and minimise the need for napping.
So, would you welcome the Nutshell into your workplace?
If the Nutshell isn’t for you, there are more traditional ways to help your team recharge throughout the working day. Invest in one of Eden Springs’ eco-friendly coffee machines or water coolers to help your employees stay awake, alert and hydrated all day long.
Do you often feel tired or fatigued? Is this affecting your productivity and motivation whilst at work? Well maybe you are not drinking enough water!
A recent study conducted by The National Hydration Council reveals that dehydration is thought to be the cause of one in ten visits to the GP in the UK for tiredness and fatigue. This diagnosis came as a shock to some patients with more than a third of them notably feeling better after drinking more water.
More findings reveal that:
Image courtesy of The National Hydration Council
One fifth of GP visits are down to tiredness and fatigue
Dehydration is thought to be the cause of one in ten consultations for tiredness and fatigue
Half of GPs in the UK would prefer to have more time to look at people’s hydration habits
GPs advise people follow the NHS recommendations on daily fluid intake
How much water do you need to drink?
1 in 250 people fail to meet their total daily fluids needs in the UK, so use the Eden Springs water calculator to find out how much water your body really needs.
The right way to drink water
Drinking water can have various health benefits but also remaining hydrated helps your brain to stay alert and motivated throughout the day. This will no doubt increase your workplace motivation.
If you are someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy drinking water check out out tips on how to make it a bit more exciting.
In a previous post, we discussed how to be more productive in the workplace – but what about making the most of your journey into work? While it can be very tempting to stay in bed for an extra 20 minutes and take the car to work, getting active out in the open air can have huge benefits to your health – not to mention setting a good example for your staff.
In a long-running study carried out by the University of East Anglia (UEA), researchers questioned almost 18,000 commuters from around the UK on their preferred method of transport. Their results found that, while 73% of people travelled to work by car, those who walked or cycled generally had a higher level of well-being. With the World Health Organisation (WHO) claiming that, in the UK alone, obesity figures are set to rise to 74% for men and 64% for women, there’s no better time to take action.
Take a hike
If you work at a desk and drive to and from work every day, it’s unlikely that you spend much time walking – and this can have disastrous effects on your health. From fitness to posture, spending too much time sitting is bad for your body – but there are things you can do to shake up your routine.
Getting active doesn’t have to mean an hour in the gym every night after work, as small changes to your lifestyle can mean big rewards. If walking to work every day isn’t feasible, start small and leave the car at home once or twice a week. If you live miles away from the office and use public transport to commute, try getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work.
On your bike
While cycling is a less practical mode of transport in the cold, wet winter months, it’s the perfect way to embrace the warmer seasons. Cycling to work will not only give you a chance to enjoy the sunshine and take in the scenery as you ride, but also help you to get fit at the same time. Better yet, taking your bike to work will also be easy on your wallet. Driving or taking public transport into work may seem like the easiest option, but it can be costly – whereas cycling won’t cost you a penny.
As well as improved physical health, getting active can also have a positive impact on your mental health and brain activity – which is, of course, essential in the workplace. Whether it’s once a week or every day, taking a greener journey to work helps you to make a statement about your business – as well as a commitment to both your environment and your employees.
If you want to encourage productivity in the workplace, make sure your staff stay hydrated by providing regular access to good old H2O. Invest in one of Eden Springs’ eco-friendly water coolers to ensure your staff stay happy, healthy and hydrated all day long.
It may seem ironic, but the busier our working lives are, the more us office workers find ourselves sitting down. Do you ever get to the end of your working day and realise you’ve hardly left your desk? Studies show that fitness (or lack thereof) is heavily influenced by how much time we spend stationary. In a previous post, we discussed how fitness and productivity are inextricably linked and the effect this could be having on our performance in the workplace. In this blog, we’re going to give you some actionable tips that will allow you to get fit and stay focused.
Move more, think more
In an article published in October 2014, the NHS discussed how sitting for long periods of time has been linked to ‘being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and premature death’. While this sounds scary, small changes to the working day can help to prevent future health issues before they arise – starting with taking regular breaks.
Working hard is a commendable trait in any employee, but prolonged periods of concentration mean your staff will find themselves sitting for longer than is healthy. From using free standing desks to walking around the office, there’s plenty we can do to keep active. And if standing up doesn’t break a sweat, you could even invest in treadmill desks to get your staff going! While bringing the gym into the office may seem like a strange concept, it actually makes a lot of sense. With new studies proving that treadmills in the workplace not only improve concentration but help staff retain information, this could be the ideal solution to keep their bodies (and brains) as active as possible.
While exercise is great, keeping fit isn’t just about getting moving. Ensuring your staff are hydrated is an integral part of keeping them fit and healthy, and a water cooler in the office is a great way to do just that. While the novelty of a trip to the water cooler will encourage them to get up from their seats regularly, the refreshing H2O will also guarantee your employees stay alert throughout the working day.
Graze on the go
Refuelling throughout the day is an essential part of keeping our brains active – but it’s easy to get into the habit of eating lunch at our desks and failing to venture outside. Although your staff may seem like they’re being more productive by working through their breaks, the lack of exercise is more likely to lead to a break in concentration. Lunch hours are your staff’s greatest opportunity to incorporate activity into their working day – and you can help. Encouraging them to leave the office during their lunch break and go for a walk or dine al fresco means your staff are more likely to come back to work refreshed and raring to go.
If you want to encourage fitness in the workplace, you can keep your staff happy and healthy by making sure they have access to plenty of fluids. Invest in one of Eden Springs’ eco-friendly coffee machine or water cooler for your office and you can ensure your staff stay hydrated and their brains and bodies stay healthy all day long.
Have you ever thought about how the lights in your office may or may not be affecting your motivation and productivity at work? Well a study conducted by the American Society if Interior Design revealed that at least 68% of US employees are unhappy with the lighting in their office. Check out our infographic below to find out if lighting in your office is affecting your motivation.