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 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!
This year sees an exciting new initiative in the world of biodegradable products, with the world’s first edible water bottle coming into existence after years of development.
Design students at the Imperial College of London have revolutionised the water container and the result is ‘Ooho’ – a 100% edible water bottle with the potential to conquer the plastic waste epedemic forever.
Image courtesy of Rodrigo García González
How does this exist?
The design team, led by student Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, created this bizarre innovation by dipping a frozen ball of water into calcium chloride – forming a gelatinous layer. The ball is reinforced by soaking in a brown algae extract solution, encapsulating the ice in a squishy outer membrane – and voila. A water container made for human consumption.
Amazingly, the technique responsible for Ooho’s creation was inspired by Spanish culinary genius Ferran Adrià, who pioneered this process to add juice-filled pearls to bubble tea. This unusual origin story is a testament to the ground-breaking creative prowess in today’s practical design world.
What does this mean for the future?
As it stands, hundreds of thousands of tonnes in plastic bottles are sent to landfill by households each year, equivalent to almost £100m if they were recycled. At Eden Springs, we embrace our environmental responsibilities, promoting office water coolers in favour of excessive PET water bottle use. It’s clear, however, that Ooho means big things for the future of unnecessary plastic waste. Being able to rid the world of this particular waste problem would mean global progress on the environmental front – and this comes just 6 months after projections that the industry would reach $70bn in value by 2017.
Eden Springs understands the need to eliminate any avoidable plastic waste, which is why our 95,000 strong customer base uses 79,000 of our environmentally-friendly water cooler bottles each year – compared with the 75 million individual litre bottles it would take to contain the same amount of water. With eco-conscious companies becoming greener than ever, and with innovations like Ooho on the horizon, the future appears to be bright on the environmental front.
Ooho has already seen its share of backlash, however, with its aesthetic form being likened to jellyfish and even breast implants. But, although this miraculous new water container may not be pretty, it’s certainly an environmental game-changer.
The product is still in the testing stages – so it might be some time before we’re seeing these innovative little containers ready for mass production – but there’s no doubt that Ooho is guaranteed to make its way into the next generation’s green office.
Hours vs Productivity: With longer working hours becoming the norm, are we getting any more work done?
Office hours have been creeping up in recent years. This is perhaps in response to the lingering effects of 2008’s economic crisis, as businesses are under ever-increasing pressure to record profits in a tough market. Many organisations have responded by increasing office working hours in order to increase the amount of work done in a week. But is more work actually being done? Extensive research indicates that longer hours may actually be having an adverse effect, causing productivity to crumble.
The working time directive states that employees in the UK should not have to work more than 48 hours a week. Working hours in the UK average around 43 hours per week – however, statistics vary from different sources and the true average could be significantly higher, with much overtime going unrecorded. It’s not uncommon in some high stress industries, such as legal services, for the working week to extend beyond as much as 60 hours!
Self-proclaimed productivity expert Chris Bailey has identified that the ideal work week is 35 hours long, achieving the optimum balance between work, rest and play. Research indicates that working more than 35 hours a week can have long-term damaging effects. Although there is initial spike in employee productivity which comes with longer working hours, data shows that, about 4 weeks after the extended hours commence, things begin to take a turn for the worse. Longer working hours are only sustainable for a short period of time before overworked employees become stressed and fatigued as workloads catch up with them.
Image courtesy of ayearofproductivity.com
This creates problems in a number of areas – not only are longer hours negatively affecting the volume and quality of work that your employees are producing, but your employees’ quality of life also takes a blow. The conclusion is somewhat obvious: simply put, overworked and unhappy employees aren’t a productive workforce. Research indicates that there’s a big gap between perceived and actual productivity. Employees working longer hours feel that they can achieve more with the extra time, but the results speak for themselves – employees working shorter hours deliver the better end results.
There are a couple of factors that cause this gap. Firstly, fatigued employees who are working under pressure for long periods of time can lose perspective on their work. By never leaving their desk, an employee loses the bigger picture. Being able to step back and self-examine your work is essential to delivering quality results. Secondly, stress is proven to affect our decision-making abilities and, as such, employees in positions of responsibility will inevitably make poorer judgement calls when stressed and fatigued.
Today, some companies are taking different approaches, ditching set hours in favour of flexi-time and the ability to work from home. This follows on from the train of thought that it doesn’t matter how, when or where it’s done – as long as it’s done. Josh Patrick, founder of a finance firm, wrote an article for the New York Times with a simple quote directed to his employees, “you’re the expert at your job” – essentially acknowledging that the vast majority of employees know what they are doing and will be more productive when they aren’t micromanaged. One key aspect of this is allowing employees to work outside the remit of long, set hours.
As an employer or business manager, it’s in your best interests to have a healthy, happy and productive workforce. Eden Springs provide high quality and competitively priced water coolers and hot drinks machines – give your office a boost by keeping your employees well hydrated and caffeinated!
You probably know that water makes up the majority of your body. Between 70 to 75% of your total body weight is water, which is your body’s most important nutrient.
Why is water important?
Water performs a number of important roles for your body, including ensuring that your body temperature is maintained correctly. It helps your digestive system, metabolises your body fat, cushions and lubricates all of your organs, helps transport nutrients around your body and, equally important, flushes the toxins you don’t need away from your body.
Experts will tell you that you should drink 64 ounces of water every day, but if you exercise regularly or you’re at the other end of the scale and you’re overweight, you should consume even more water because your body will get through and use more.
Your blood ensures that nutrients are transported around your body; it also takes energy to your muscles and waste away from your tissues. Some 90% of your blood is water.
What happens if you don’t take in enough water?
When you fail to drink sufficient water during the day your body will look to collect it from other places and this includes your blood. Some of your smaller vessels, known as capillaries, will close which makes your blood thicker. This increases the chances of your blood clotting and it makes it harder for your heart to push blood through your system. For people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and perhaps an unknown heart disease, this can result in serious problems. A lack of water can also cause you to have headaches, heartburn and arthritis.
When, after waking up in the morning, you find that your shoe is too tight to wear, there is a good chance that you have a water retention problem and salt can often be the cause of this. Your body needs and uses a certain amount of sodium, but if you consume too much salt, your body will need more fluid to dilute it.
When you don’t introduce enough water to your body, larger amounts of glucose will stay in your bloodstream until it reaches your liver. The excess glucose will be stored as fat. When there’s less water in your fat cells, you will be less mobile because water contributes to energy storage in your body.
One of the jobs that your liver completes for you is to turn fat into energy. Your kidneys will help with filtering waste, toxins, and remove salt from your bloodstream. When you don’t drink enough water and you are dehydrated, perhaps without even knowing it, your kidneys are not going to work properly and your liver will have to work overtime to compensate. The result is that your body will metabolise less fat which is why when you’re trying to reduce the amount of fat around your body, you should always drink plenty of water.
Water is a suppressant of your natural appetite, so consumption of water before a meal helps you eat less.
Drinking pure water is best for you, even better than coffee, tea or soda drinks. Those drinks increase your need for fluid because your body needs to work harder to remove the caffeine and sugary substances. These are all good reasons to make water your new best friend.
It’s distressing when hundreds of gallons of water go to waste while some individuals can’t find a good enough or safe enough supply for them and their families. While wasted water can’t generally be redirected to those that have a greater need, it should make us value the importance of our water and think about those who don’t have such easy access.
People in the developed world are used to heading to the water cooler or turning on a tap and using water freely from a limitless supply. Often only when it directly affects the size of their bill do some people think about the amount of water that they waste (a situation seen with water meters).
What a lack of water means
Only when a minor catastrophe strikes and the water supplies are turned off for an hour or two do people realise how much they need water for drinking, for preparing food and sanitation purposes. Not being able to drink a glass of water or flush the toilet at the moment it is required can be quite a surprise.
At the same time, in other parts of the world, some people spend the majority of their day searching for safe drinking water and if they can’t find some their family are in crisis. Each year, millions of people die from preventable diseases which are caused by lack of contact with clean water and sufficient sanitation. Many of these deaths involve young children.
In particularly difficult areas, groundwater can be completely depleted. Rivers and lakes can dry up at different times of the year when many people are depending upon the water from these areas as irrigation to help grow their food, because we know that plants only grow through feeding, watering and sunlight.
The developed world often fails to understand the ramifications of water scarcity and as climates change around the world, suitable sources of water can become even more difficult to find.
For every person that allows gallons of water to flow down the sink until it becomes warm enough to wash their cutlery and crockery, many people are expected to walk miles every day to collect insufficient water and return it to their home.
Incredibly, in 2013, around 880 million people do not have access to clean water, regularly. Around 2.7 billion people don’t have sanitation to acceptable standards. With the world’s population expected to rise from 7 to 10 billion by the end of this century, the wastage of water in some areas is more than just a major worry.
Too many people around the world are using contaminated water for their cooking and drinking. A further lack of water makes many people fail to look after their personal hygiene sufficiently. There are many preventable diseases like cholera and dysentery that should have been eradicated from our planet by now, but illnesses like trachoma still exist, having already blinded 6 million people.
The demand for water continues to grow at the same time the groundwater depletion has doubled since 1960. The United Nations General assembly has agreed that everyone on the planet should have access to the necessary 20 to 50 L of water that is required for each person every day. The difference between access to good quality water and poor water hygiene standards can be the difference between life and death.
If everyone were able to stop wasting two or three litres of water a day, perhaps one day we won’t need to talk about water wastage ever again.
Eden Springs were delighted to receive the following thank you letter from the Birmingham Community Gospel Choir in recognition of our donation of water to their uplifting ‘Gospel Goes Charity’ event during November. We always love to hear positive feedback from our free water for fundraisers initiative and even better if we can see some pictures of the water going to good use!
If you’d like to apply for free water for your charity event go to our Facebook page.