We often hear that we need to drink enough water each day (generally, about 15.5 cups for men and about 11.5 cups for women). And since most of us spend a good part of that day at work, we took a look at some of the benefits of drinking water on the job.
Water is good for your eyes
Whether you’re in the office, working from home, stationed at a checkout register, or down on the warehouse floor, there’s a good chance you’re spending some time in front of an electronic screen. According to some studies, that can be as much as 6.5 hours daily. And that’s not counting all the screen time we log away from work.
That’s an eyeful for your eyes. It’s a good idea to give them a break and take a walk to grab some water.
Our eyes are 98 percent water, so they’re easily affected by how much water we consume. Having an office water dispenser can help you stay properly hydrated and greatly reduce many common eye ailments, such eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
Water helps you think clearly
Our eyes take in information that our brains then interpret, analyze, and act upon. Water comes into play here as well. When we don’t take in enough water, our blood volume decreases, lowering blood pressure. If you’ve ever felt lightheaded, dizzy, or even just a bit foggy or tired later in the day, it could be due to insufficient hydration.
Spending too much time in a chair or too much time on your feet can both negatively affect muscles and joints, especially if we don’t drink enough water at work. Water helps muscles contract and relax. It also helps keep muscle cells hydrated. That can offset the muscle strain and cramps that often come with too much chair time or too much time on the floor at work. It’s much the same story with our joints. Water keeps them well lubricated and helps remove toxins from the body to fight joint inflammation.
Water works overtime
Continuing to drink water after we close our laptops and turn out the lights is important, too. Our bodies do most of their recovery and repair work while we sleep. Water plays a key role in replenishing our systems and helping us regain proper physiological balance, which means we wake up feeling rested and refreshed to take on another day at work.
Water helps strengthen your immune system
We mentioned earlier that water flushes out toxins in our bodies. But if we don’t consume enough water, the toxins can build up and our immune system has to work harder to manage them. Good hydration supports a strong and stable immune system that can fight off viruses and bacteria that make us sick and keep us out of work.
Raise a glass to a better day at work
No matter what we do at our jobs, each of us would like to be as productive as possible, right? That’s one more area where water can make a significant difference. A 2013 study conducted by the University of East London showed that drinking water can result in a 14% increase in productivity. It stands to reason that something as simple and easy as making a few trips to the office water cooler or water dispenser each day could help us do more at work, stay healthier doing it, and feel better about it when we wake up the next day.
There’s the candy jar on your co-worker’s desk that somehow always offers all your favorites. And the box of donuts that arrives every Friday morning like clockwork. Then, there’s the cakes and cookies for celebrations that seem to happen weekly. And the closet in the back, always generously stocked with soda.
Sometimes it seems like going to work be dangerous for your health!
While each of these sweets and treats may tempt you on the brink of your 3pm energy slump, we know that none of them contribute to a healthy diet for you or your coworkers. But make a few quick swaps and your entire office will be ready to start the day on a high note, push through the slump, and make progress on the path to better health.
Skip the weekly donut breakfast
Replace with Granola and Greek yogurt
If you’ve made a tradition of weekly breakfast treats, the good news is you can keep it going and make it healthier. Bags of granola and a fridge stocked with Greek yogurt will still start the morning sweetly but without hurting your health. Go for bonus points and bring in a few pints of fresh blueberries or strawberries to top it all off.
Dump the candy bowl
Fill it with dried fruit and nuts
We know the drill. Every morning you swear you’ll stay away. And every afternoon, you find something very important to discuss with the coworkers who sit between you and the candy bowl. Well you can keep that afternoon circuit going too. Just make it healthy by replacing the candy with dried fruit, nuts, or trail mix.
Forget the cake
Celebrate with Muffins
Birthdays, work anniversaries, successful project completions—celebrations strengthen bonds and culture in a workplace and we vote for celebrating as often as you can. Just celebrate in a healthier way with muffins instead of cupcakes or even fresh fruits and veggies to munch on while you chit chat.
Kick vending machines to the curb
Stock up on healthy pantry essentials
Not all office snacks are sweet. Vending machines or cabinets full of chips also create temptations and the likeliness of unhealthy snacking habits. Turn things around by stocking up on healthy pantry options like popcorn, whole wheat crackers and peanut butter. Try new things with a service like NatureBox, Graze, SnackNation and get regular deliveries of new, healthy snacks. SnackNation has a super cool tool that recommends the best snacks based on certain attributes.
Empty out that closet of soda
Hooking up to a water line, the Bevi smart water machine provides customizable still, sparkling, and flavored water on demand. Pure filtered water included! Bevi is also internet-connected and automatically notifies Bevi technicians when you’re running low on flavors or carbonation. Instead of stacking the office closet with cases of soda, save time, reduce waste, and stay healthy with Bevi’s low- or zero-calorie flavored water.
In addition to Bevi’s fruit-flavored water, there are many other healthy alternatives to soda and other sugary drinks. From maple water to kombucha, tea to fruit-infusions, check out this list of delicious soda substitutes that will help you cut the cola.
Imagine break room shelves stocked healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts instead of sugar-laden candy and salt-loaded chips…
An office in which you can get your annual flu shot in the conference room down the hall rather than trying to squeeze a doctor visit in during the busy winter season.
A workplace with walking meetings, friendly office step-counting competitions, and group exercise classes during your lunch hour.
This is the world an employee wellness program can create.
Need numbers to really feel convinced? A 2011 study in American Journal of Health Promotion showed healthcare costs rose at a slower rate (15% slower) when employers consistently offered wellness program to employees.
Now that we’ve covered why you should start your own employee wellness program today, let’s talk how.
The most successful wellness programs respond to the needs of your employees. So start by observing what sorts of wellness activities are popular in the office now—do groups of colleagues get together to walk after work? Has someone taken it on themselves to sanitize conference rooms during flu season? Take the lead from employees to hone in on what they seek most.
Need a bit more data? Distribute a survey to gather wellness needs and tailor programs and activities to your employees.
Even the most perfectly tailored program will not run itself. Identify the health advocates among you and ask them to help organize the program, lead a campaign, plan an event or mentor other members of the team. The more people on the team, the better!
Need help convincing staff to join the effort? Look for ways to build responsibilities into their job and discuss any concerns about time commitments up front.
While many wellness activities are free or very low cost, setting aside a budget for your wellness program will help keep up momentum and allow you to offset employee costs in favor of overall wellness. Consider:
Subsidizing Pilates or yoga classes or weight management programs
Assisting employees with gym membership costs
Adjusting insurance plans to align with employee needs and goals
Contacting health insurance companies for free resources – online and in person – on a variety of wellness topics
And don’t forget to pursue inexpensive options such as:
Contacting local health care providers, health clinics, hospitals, and universities for experts to speak on health and wellness-related topics
Utilize employee expertise to lead programs or classes
Set up a walking program or exercise group
Once you have the details of your program in place, spread the word! Post notes or messages in typical informational locations like your company intranet or break room bulletin board. And then think outside the box. Advertise events with flyers or table tents near the lunch room or break room. Start a wellness newsletter. If budget allows, order some small tchotchkes, like pencils or notepads for each staff member.
Focus communication on specific program features or upcoming events to create a sense of action.
You’ll probably know whether your program is working by the way employees engage. But gathering as many specifics as possible will help you further tune the program for success. Distribute short evaluations at specific intervals and after larger events. Three questions will do: What worked? What didn’t? What would you do differently?
How often do you gather your employees together for something that has nothing to do with business?
Creating camaraderie and a sense of social engagement in the office goes a long way to not only spreading your company culture but strengthening it as well. Giving everyone a chance to relax a little and get to know each other better can boost employee morale and collaboration.
Ice cream social: Invite an ice cream truck to pull up outside your office or buy a few gallons from the closest grocery story and set up a sundae bar on a Wednesday afternoon.
Chili Cook-off: Or any kind of cook-off. Assign a panel of judges and tell everyone to get cooking and bring their best. Just be sure to have a prize for the winner.
Pot Luck: Amp up the Friday afternoon happy hour by assigning snack, drink, and even dessert duty to different teams around the office.
Non-business meetings: Survey the office to see what folks are interested in and then bring in an expert. A sommelier could come in to teach about wine tasting or a local stand-up comedian could run an improv workshop.
Game Day: Ask everyone to bring in a favorite board game and spend an afternoon of a little friendly competition.
Start a Book Club: Maybe you read and discuss books related to your work, maybe you work through the latest NYT best sellers. Either way, it will bring folks together.
Office Talent Show: What are your colleagues good at outside of the office? It’s time to find out.
Afternoon Snack Time: Take yourselves back to your Kindergarten days and schedule afternoon snack time for all to come together. (We recommend gathering around the Bevi).
Afternoon at the Movies: Take everyone out to the local theater or pop some popcorn and bring one in.
Scavenger Hunt: Plot one out within the office or break into teams and take to the streets for exploration and team building at the same time.
DIY Awards Show: Think of fun office awards (e.g. best smelling lunch, first in every morning, best email sign off) or create your own based on inside jokes. Don’t forget to hand out trophies.
A Day of Pampering: Bring in a masseuse for seated massages, a barista to make coffee to order, and anything else that will leave employees feeling well taken care of.
Contests for Anything: Create a contest around anything that gets you all engaged—from a costume contest at Halloween to a friendly step-counting contest and beyond, there are countless ways to get everyone cheering each other on.
Bevi Taste Test: This one’s our personal favorite—an afternoon of ‘name that flavor!’
Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk, working away towards your 3pm deadline, all while your four-legged best friend sits by, encouraging, comforting, and cheering you on.
If you’re a dog-lover, this sounds like a dream.
“Sometimes, the best lap to rest on is a working lap.” – Hero, Bevi Puppy in Residence
But to make this dream a reality for you and your employees, you’ll need to consider all the pros and cons of a pet-friendly workplace.
Every dog-owner knows (and craves) that feeling of coming home at the end of the day to puppy love. The unconditional companionship of a dog has a unique ability to relieve stress, be it the sweet little nose on your lap, a furry head to pet, or just knowing that someone who loves you is nearby. Pets ‘on staff’ can reduce employee’s stress levels and make them feel more comfortable in the workplace.
Studies show that dogs increase bonds and collaboration in an office. Think of them as a natural conversation starter. Don’t know Jean too well even though she sits three seats away? Stop by to pet her pup and you’ll know her better in no time, leading to more conversation and collaboration.
Enter in the morning, exit in the evening and never get breath of fresh air in between. We humans do it all the time. But dogs don’t. While needing to get up from your desk in the middle of the day to walk the dog might seem like a productivity-crashing interruption, it actually brings about great healthy and creativity benefits. Walking is a great way to stay in shape and clear the mind at the same time. Ever get a great idea the minute you walk away from your computer? Count on that happening daily.
When employees can blend the line between work life and home life, often they feel a greater sense of balance. In this case, time spent missing their pups, worrying about them alone at home, or feeling guilty over being gone for so long can now be better spent.
The Sneezes and Phobias
Unfortunately, for every dog-lover, there is a cat-lover. There are also those who don’t like any furry friends, who are scared of the canine kind, or allergic. Creating a productive and welcoming environment for everyone means making sure that everyone feels comfortable. And sometimes, your furry best friend will make that tricky.
Furry, friendly, and lovable, yes. Clean and tidy, not always. The mess dogs leave in their wake starts with occasional shedding and only gets worse from there.
Dogs are loyal and loveable companions. But they can be quite needy. They also have a knack for directing all the attention in the room towards themselves. If the first fifteen minutes of every meeting are filled with puppy talk, you might have a problem.
For all the tension they relieve, they have the power to create a little too. Disagreements over boundaries, responsibilities or even pet-led conflicts can disrupt office congeniality.
Ultimately, your decision should take your employees and culture into account to determine whether the downsides of a pet-friendly workplace are worth the rewards. And, if you do decide to invite the dogs in, let this list of cons guide you in developing pet-friendly policies around things such as vaccination, training, and guidelines about proper pup behavior.
By Tricia Mirchandani
Ready to turn your office green but don’t know where to start? While some workplace sustainability changes do require planning, consensus, and some significant process change, others can be done before you clock out today. We’ve broken it down for you to keep you going green today and beyond.
Make these changes today
Change your printing ways. Consider the impact before you click the printer icon. Do you truly need to print that page? If the answer is ‘Yes!’ (and, sometimes, it is), print double sided. Post signs by each printer and throughout the office to encourage everyone to do the same. (And hold brown bag training sessions to make sure everyone knows how to print double sided. It’s not always as easy as you think!)
Get the lights. And the printer. The computers. Shut down anything that uses electricity when you leave for the day. Create an end-of-day checklist for the last person out and encourage everyone to check power hungry machines before leaving for the day.
Save the screens. Ditch the screen savers. Though fun to look at, allowing monitors to dim instead consumes far less power.
Go green, literally. Add houseplants to your office décor. In addition to creating a more natural ambiance proven to increase well-being and productivity, houseplants enhance air quality and absorb odors naturally (bye-bye air fresheners and air purifiers).
Talk about these changes now + implement soon
No binders left behind. Keep binders, folders, half used notepads, and even paperclips out of landfills with a stationery reuse system. Talk about what items your office most often disposes of, where a good collection point would be for reusable items, and how to manage the process before introducing the concept office-wide.
Shut it down. Not just at the end of the day but before closing down for holidays. Talk about what should be powered down overnight vs. what needs attention before a two or three-day break from the office to balance office productivity and conservation.
Fresh, local, healthy. Good for the environment and for the people you work with. Fresh, local food doesn’t need to travel as far and costs less to produce, which means radically reduced energy costs and better nourishment for everyone. Talk about joining a CSA, finding local suppliers of traditional office staples like coffee and tea, and even removing vending machines.
BYO Cups and Office Canvas bags. Eliminate plastic water bottles as an office policy and provide glasses and mugs (and, might we suggest, a Bevi?). Keep a community stash of canvas bags for anyone to borrow on lunch-time trips to the grocery store.
Plan these changes out for future green ways
Evaluate your impact. Identify, as a group, three to five negative impacts your office makes on the environment. This may take some time and research but the resulting list will create a guide for future workplace sustainability efforts.
Automate it. Because humans might forget but machines don’t. Install energy management controls to automatically switch off high energy consumers on long weekends or holidays. Implement a print-follow system that queues print jobs and requires a log-in at the printer to cut down on mistaken or unnecessary printing.
Compost in the office. Plot out the location and management of the bins while educating staff on the benefits of composting. You’ll likely need to plan this one out and pursue necessary approvals while sorting out logistics. But once that’s all settled, you’ll be set to toss everything in—from coffee and tea bags to leftover lunches and paper. Donate it all to your community garden or start planting fruits and veggies right in the office.
Meet green. Use teleconferencing to cut down on business travel. Sometimes technology makes it easier to conserve.
Buy better. It’s not every day that you need a new machine, printer, computer, etc. But the next time you do, look for EPEAT registered and Energy Star rated items. Focus on things that will last (fewer landfills), that were made from recycled material (even fewer landfills) and/or machines that are energy efficient (less power). Beyond machines, think about the cleaning products you or cleaning service uses, the furnishings in your office, and even the paint on your walls. Convert them to more environmentally friendly ones with fewer chemicals for a greener environment overall.
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