We all know that drinking water is good for us but did you know that the time you drink it matters? Check out our tips below to maximise the effects of water on your body by drinking water at the right time.
The unbreakable bond between coffee and work is a fundamental part of modern civilisation, a pairing so perfect it’s infiltrated the very core of today’s working world. Employees looking to supplement their workload with something a little tastier have found the rewards of a nice hot brew and show no signs of quitting the caffeine.
So we know that coffee and work is a long-term love affair – but what’s their origin story, and what exactly makes this love such a big one?
Coffee is proven to have a direct and significant effect on employee performance, with a daily caffeine fix making a huge impact on office output. Caffeine gives your employees the vital energy required to cope with heavy workloads, allowing them to perform effectively and productively. The caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream within in a matter of minutes, and the resulting energy can last for several hours.
The jolt that an early morning brew sends into our central nervous systems keeps us awake and alert – in our most productive state – and leaves the mind clear, logical and prime for working performance. Not only that, but coffee can even alleviate the everyday aches and pains associated with office work – in the neck, shoulders, forearms and wrists – leaving staff pain-free and on top form throughout the day.
The 21st century institution that is the coffee break dates back to the mid-20th century, with the regime made a part of many working contracts following WWII. Today the office coffee break is both a standard and essential component of every employee’s working day, offering a chance to socialise amongst their colleagues, hydrating and mentally refuelling in the process. These regular breaks allow workers to get their productivity-propelling caffeine fix in short and frequent bursts throughout the day – making for a workforce that is satisfied and stimulated at all times.
And for those of you who are partial to a casual coffee house rendezvous, you’ll be pleased to hear that even this has the scientific justifications to back it up. A low to moderate level of ambient sound, rather than distracting workers, is actually proven to boost creativity – making coffee shops an ideal location for some out-of-office brainwaves.
In addition to the undeniable professional and social benefits of the office coffee, the relationship between coffee and work even boasts some hefty health benefits on top. Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day can decrease your risk of contracting diabetes by as much as 50%, while female employees drinking at least three each day are less likely to develop skin cancer later in life.
In a more everyday sense, caffeinated workers make for contented workers – with caffeine sending more fatty acids into the old bloodstream to be absorbed and used for energy, fighting the inertia often associated with the working day. Better yet, even the sweet scent of a hot cup of coffee can fight the stress resulting from sleep deprivation – powerful stuff.
The relationship between coffee and work is one that’s built to last, offering employees the world over a reliable pick-me-up with some rather hefty long-term benefits – and it’s not hard to see why this is a societal bond that can’t be broken.
If you’re ready to give your employees the coffee machine of their dreams, Eden Springs can help. We provide offices throughout the UK with eco-friendly coffee solutions with the power to maximise your business’s productivity – and keep your workforce happy and hydrated all day long.
A properly designed workspace is an important component of well-being at work; some simple things can make a big difference.
If you are like many people who spend hours each day hunched over a keyboard and in front of a computer screen, then office ergonomics is an important issue for you. Sitting at a desk all day puts pressure on your back, neck and shoulders. A properly designed work space is the key to preventing many musculoskeletal disorders. Here is some simple advice on how to improve the ergonomics of your work station:
Eyestrain is a common sign of prolonged computer use, which may manifest itself in many ways:
To give the eyes a much-needed rest, follow this simple advice:
Making some minor changes to your monitor can greatly reduce eyestrain:
A chair that is adjusted properly helps you maintain good posture, which helps reduce the amount of strain on your back. Take a moment to adjust your seat to suit your height:
Balancing the demands of work life and home can be a major source of stress; some simple techniques can help you improve your well-being and quality of life.
Do you spend more time at work than you do at home?
In today’s global workplace of advanced communications people now have the ability to work almost anywhere – from their home, their car, even while they are on vacation. Thanks to technology like cell phones, laptops, and video conferencing, many people are working longer hours than they used to and the boundary between work and personal time has blurred. But when your work life and your personal life are out of balance, your stress level can soar.
It isn’t easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. For most people it’s an on-going challenge. Here is some advice from the experts on how to maintain the balance:
Try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.
Track everything you do for one week, including work-related and non-work related activities. After you see your patterns, decide where to make adjustments, such as cutting or delegating activities you don’t enjoy, or which aren’t priorities.
Organise household tasks efficiently, for example: doing one load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all up for your day off.
Set aside some time each day for an activity you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing a favourite sport or hobby. This will help you to decompress after a hectic day.
There’s nothing as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you are sleep deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.
6. Communicate Clearly
Eliminate time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes; write lists, etc. to keep yourself organised.
Take the phone of the hook, turn off the computer and TV, and discover the activities that you can do with family and friends. Making time for the people and activities you enjoy will rejuvenate you.
During times of stress it can often help just to talk about it with a trusted family member, friend or co-worker. You may also want to consider professional help such as your doctor, a psychologist or a counsellor.
According to some experts, a lack of physical activity is one of the most serious health issues facing our modern society. Finding time for exercise during your busy day may not always be easy, but there are some simple things you can do to keep yourself fit.
Doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day as part of a healthy lifestyle, but finding time for exercise during your busy day may not always be easy. However, there are some simple things you can do at work that can help:
The following are some simple stretching exercises you can do at your work station. Perform the following stretches frequently throughout your work day. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
Clutching a pen or typing on a keyboard can make your hands stiff and tight. This stretch will help reinvigorate the muscles in your hands: Separate and straighten your fingers until you feel a stretch, keeping your hand in alignment with your wrist. Next, bend the end and middle knuckles of your fingers, keeping your hand and wrist in the same position.
Standing and holding on to something, lift one foot up towards the buttocks, keeping the knees together. Pause and then lower the foot to the floor. Repeat with the opposite foot.
Reach behind your head and place your hand on your upper back, keeping your arm close to your ear. Gently hold your elbow with your opposite hand. Pull your elbow toward the back of your head and reach your hand toward the middle of your back until you feel a gentle stretch. Pause, and then repeat on the other side.
Lace your fingers together and turn your palms facing out; straighten your arms in front of you and hold.
Tuck your chin in, lengthening the back of your neck. Then turn your head to the left. Pause and then bring it back to the centre. Pause and then turn to the right.
Roll your shoulders up towards your ears, hold; then roll your shoulders back and down, squeezing briefly between your shoulder blades.
Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, which makes it the most important place to care about well-being. Employees who take care of their well-being are generally healthier, more productive, less prone to illness and injury, and therefore, lead a better quality of life.
So here are 10 tips to improve your well-being at work:
Since the body continually looses water – 2.5 to 3 litres per day – through normal body functions, this water needs to be replaced to keep the body healthy. Ironically, the sensation of thirst occurs only after the body has started to become dehydrated. For this reason it is very important to drink water often, without waiting to feel thirsty. By the time you begin to feel thirsty, the body is already dehydrated to a level of 0,8% to 2% of body weight.
Here are just a few of the many important roles water plays in the functions of the body:
Your brain tissue consists of 85% water. When you are not properly hydrated it may be your brain that starts to feel the effects, with headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory. Even your ability to perform arithmetic and the rapidity of your psychomotor skills can be reduced. This is due to the fact that dehydration causes the level of energy production in the brain to decrease. Studies have shown that a person’s ability to concentrate progressively declines when the body is subject to a water deficiency of just 1 to 2%.
The heart consists of 77% water. Clinical studies have shown that adequate hydration may improve the way your heart works and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
The Liver consists of 73% water. Its function is to convert the body’s fat into energy it can use. But if the liver is forced to help in the work of the kidneys due to insufficient water consumption, the body will accumulate extra fat that would have been burned if there had been adequate water intake.
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, your body needs water to breath: the lungs consist of 85% water. In order to take in oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide, our lungs must be continually moistened with water. The average person looses between half to one litre of water per day just by breathing. When the body is dehydrated it tries to prevent respiratory water loss by producing histamines which close off the capillaries in the lungs. This reduces water loss, but makes breathing more difficult.
The skin is the largest human organ, both by weight and by surface area, consisting of 70% water. We loose a percentage of our body’s water everyday by evaporation through the skin. The environment in which we work, with climate-controlled heating and air conditioning, low humidity, and even simple things like soap and cleaning solutions can damage the protective outer layer of the skin, reducing its ability to hold moisture. When you are not drinking enough to compensate the for the body’ water loss, you may notice your skin feeling dry; moisturizers or body lotions can treat the symptoms, however the best solution is to reach for a glass of water and moisturize from the inside.
The kidneys are made of 80% water. Their function is to remove waste products from the body, which are dissolved in water. When there is not enough water these waste products are not removed effectively which can cause damage to the kidneys. The National Kidney Research Foundation recommends that drinking two litres of water a day can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.
Even your bones have a high level of water in them – approximately 22%. Water is also necessary to ensure the smooth movement of bone joints. The cartilaginous tissue at the end of the bones retains water to lubricate the movement of your joints. When well hydrated the two opposing surfaces slide smoothly; if the cartilage is dehydrated, the damage from friction increases, causing deterioration of the joints and leading to pain, such as arthritis.
It’s no big secret that our health affects us both physically and mentally. A large amount of research has been done on health factors in the work place, including common health problems at work, the lack of exercise caused by today’s 9-5 sit-down culture and how exercise has a positive impact on our brain.
Scientific research has proven that health and happiness are intrinsically linked. Frequent exercise has the obvious effect of improving our health through lowering blood pressure and managing weight. However, exercise also has a significant mental impact on our brains, reducing stress and stimulating the production of endorphins – known as the ‘happy’ hormone.
Depression and stress are major factors which can negatively impact productivity in the work place, and, for the most part, can be largely combated through regular exercise. So how can businesses encourage employees to take up regular exercise?
Take Action: Keep your employees running like a well-oiled machine by implementing a gym membership subsidy, encouraging employees to take up regular exercise.
Encouraging employees to adapt to a healthier lifestyle, and essentially improving employee welfare, is a fundamental approach which should be built into every businesses mission. Remember – a small investment in the wellbeing of your staff can lead to long term gains.
Featured Expert: “Even if you work long hours there’s usually a way that you can fit 20-30 minutes of exercise into your day. For many people it’s just a case of getting up a bit earlier. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m exercising and the extra energy I get from exercising regularly definitely helps me get more work done.” - Julia Buckley - Health and fitness expert
Staff absence due to illness can amount to an enormous long term expense to businesses. According to a study by accountancy firm PwC, workers in the UK take, on average, 9 sick days a year – this amounts to a total estimated cost of £29 billion to UK businesses every year.
“At a time when companies are striving for growth, it is vital they address this cost by looking for ways to improve employees’ health, morale and motivation”
HR Consultant Jon Andrews
In order to escape the costs of high absenteeism levels, businesses should invest in their employees’ wellbeing, whether this is by providing access to private healthcare, stocking only healthy foods in the office canteen, no matter how big or small, each step taken is one in the right direction.
Fact: The NHS recommends drinking between 8-10 glasses of water a day to maintain health, replace fluids and help our bodies eliminate toxins and waste – keeping you healthy. Encourage this by investing in an office water cooler keeping your team well hydrated throughout the day.
There’s significant evidence that keeping employees active in the workplace is beneficial to their health and your business. Startling statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveal that over 3 million deaths occur each year, due to insufficient physical activity. These figures are obviously a worst case scenario, but they highlight the importance of keeping active and escaping today’s sedative lifestyle.
Featured Expert: “Every hour, get up from your desk and move. Whether it is walking to get a glass of water or just having a bit of a stretch. Also, instead of sending an email to a colleague across the room to ask them a question, get up and walk over. Sitting down all day is not good for you.” Dannii Martin – Health and fitness blogger at hungryhealthyhappy.com
Modern office environments present an unnatural and unhealthy environment in which people sit at a desk and remain inactive for the majority of the day. Although time saving technologies such as internal email or in-office Skype chats may shave minutes off employee time, the long term costs are a risk to employee health by encouraging inactivity.
Businesses are taking a leaf out of the history book when trying to keep their employees more active during the 9 to 5. Before the invention of email or phones, people had to walk across the office if they wanted to ask a question or talk about a piece of work.
Take Action: Ban all non-essential internal communications via email or phone. This will mean that staff actually have to get up and physically move to speak with colleagues. To further enhance physical activity, remove chairs from meeting rooms. ‘Stand-up’ style meetings have been proven to encourage engagement and contribution – being on your feet is just an added health bonus.
Recently, there has been a growth in the popularity of sit-stand desks, these adjustable desks provide the ideal solution to the ‘sitting epidemic’, allowing employees to raise their desk to standing height and work on their feet. This ergonomic innovation keeps employees active. Unfortunately, these desks can be considerably more expensive, costing in excess of £400 each – making them a sizeable long-term business investment.
Software firm, VM Turbo, saw great success with the introduction of standing desks, with employees reportedly now spending 70% of their day in a physically active state. The desks have proven extremely popular with their employees, with nobody on the team wishing to revert to old style sitting desks.
These changes may seem small when examined individually, however, they can add up to a significant increase in physical activity when combined over a long period of time.
A poor work-life balance can lead to productivity lags, with employees under excess pressure, working from home and at weekends. Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation reveal that 40% of employees regularly neglect their home life due to pressures from work, with the number of excess hours spent at work directly correlating with unhappiness. In the long run, this can significantly impact business output if the problem is companywide, even leading to a decline in employee retention levels as workers begin to resent their jobs.
Many businesses assume that responsibility for work-life balance lies with the employee – but any good manager knows that ensuring your employees lead a balanced lifestyle means they are more productive during office hours. Therefore, responsibility for managing work-life balance should lie evenly between the employer and employee.
Featured Expert: “Excessive work demand can seriously affect your health. High stress levels are damaging to your wellbeing. Being unable to secure an effective work-life balance can lead to broken relationships, both at work and at home. Make sure your work is not damaging your health and wellbeing.” Ian Draper – The UK National Work-stress Network.
Colgate-Palmolive was recently named top of the pile for employee work-life balance by job site Indeed. Mark Steinerd, director of recruitment, highlighted how their flexible approach benefits the organisation. “Colgate-Palmolive offers some great benefits, such as flexible work hours, telecommute options, and nearby back-up childcare centres, which is a nice perk for work-at-home parents. As a result, Colgate-Palmolive has a high rate of employee retention, which is a testament to their culture.”
Take Action: Ensure your management team are well versed on the damaging effects of poor work-life balance by performing an audit of all business policies to ensure these are not detrimental to employees.
One of the primary causes of poor employee work-life balance is management overworking employees by setting unrealistic goals. This isn’t always the fault of management either, as employees gradually get used to larger workloads, accepting additional responsibilities as they are afraid to say “no”. Combat this by creating an open office culture, encouraging employees to speak up about workloads without fear of being penalised. Project managers should work closely with teams when supervising daily tasks, asking employees for regular updates in a friendly manner, allowing them to re-prioritise and adjust the workload.
Featured Expert: “There is no one-size-fits-all because we are all at different stages of our lives and have different priorities and goals. Getting the balance right supports us in achieving our goals, as well as in our overall enjoyment of our day to day lives. This is not without its challenges, and effort is required to consciously determine where we wish to spend our time each day – prioritising activities and managing our time effectively helps us achieve the balance.” Nick Achilleos of the Stress Management Society.
It is about that time of year when the weather starts to heat up and it is important that we all stay hydrated, especially at work. Are you making sure you drink enough water throughout the day? Maybe it is time for a trip to the water cooler!