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.

While a glass of water can offer some relief at the time, experts recommend regular, steady water consumption throughout the day to remain sharp and alert.

Water offsets aches, pains, and cramps

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.

A popular way of maintaining our wellbeing  with lockdowns, shutdowns, and working from home is just getting outside. A study by Danish urban research firm, Gehl, reflects this new attraction to nature. One study respondent commented, “People seem to be using greenspace and outdoor space more than pre-outbreak — but now, even more so, it is a release, an escape, some sanity, some wellness.”

A good walk spoiled

With this growing popularity comes a lot of our trash. The litter that registers as invisible when we drive by becomes all too noticeable at the tamer pace of a leisurely walk around the block. A plastic shopping bag lodged at the base of a hedge. Old bottles, cans, and other trash along the curb.

Much of this waste finds its way to streams, rivers and other waterways, and eventually to the oceans. However, researchers in Germany found that one third of all plastic waste ends up in the ground or in freshwater. Most of this is unintentional. The Center for Outdoor Ethics found 9 out of 10 people in the outdoors are uninformed about how they may adversely affect the environment.

Growing awareness of impact on greenspaces

Good news. There are indications that more people are aware of their impact on the greenspaces, woodlands, waterways and oceans that offer us much needed solace. For example, the program Plastic Free July, has been working since 2011 to help create a world free of plastic waste. In 2020, they saw their highest level of engagement with 326 million people participating in the Plastic Free July challenge. That’s up 100 million from the year before.

How to maintain serenity and sustainable greenspace

More good news. It’s not hard to build on the success of initiatives like Plastic Free July. We can easily take care of our outdoor refuges with just a little forethought and planning.

Here are some great ideas from the National Park Foundation:

Stay hydrated but leave the plastic water bottle at home and grab a refillable one instead.

Being well-nourished is just as important, so use reusable silicone snack bags on the trail.

Bring food in reusable containers and use washable napkins and tablecloths.

Ditch the plastic and invest in reusable straws, plates, and cutlery that can be easily rinsed clean.

About 30 percent of all trash in the U.S. comes just from product packaging, so try to reduce single-use packaged food products as much as possible.

Instead of paper maps, make use of several national park map apps. No service? Many parks apps can be downloaded ahead of time and used offline.

Don’t plan on finding a trash or recycling can. Always plan ahead and decide how you’ll store any garbage until you’ve reached a proper disposal site.

Doing good feels good

Maintaining our oceans, waterways, and greenspaces spaces is not only essential for the planet’s wellbeing, it’s becoming more essential for our wellbeing. And to take care of the latter, we need to take care of the former.

Research has shown that the simple act of doing something good, such as keeping the environment clean and healthy, can actually make us feel good in the process. And isn’t that why we took that long walk outdoors in the first place?

According to recent research, mental health disorders are on the rise, and could potentially cost the global economy up to $16 trillion by 2030 through lost production, recruitment, and absence. That’s why promoting wellbeing and good mental health in the workplace can be incredibly beneficial to both staff and employers. In today’s post, we’re discussing some ways that you can promote workplace wellbeing with your office design. From creating opportunities for movement to offering flexibility, we’ll cover it all so that your office design commits to improving the mental health of your employees.

Design opportunities for movement

In a typical office environment, it becomes the norm to sit for 7-10 hours a day. However, sitting down for lengthy periods of time isn’t good for your body with research showing that it can increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and even type 2 diabetes. To combat this issue, your office design could compose of tools to help your employees work healthier. From installing standing workstations to encouraging outdoor meetings, providing opportunities to be more active during the working day could be an effective means of boosting employees’ mental health and help them separate their working day with refreshing breaks. 

Encouraging walking or even cycling part of the way to work is a great way for employees to fit more exercise into their day. Although, one of the biggest challenges to this is employees not wanting to arrive at work sweaty. If you have the budget, installing shower pods is a great way to reassure employees that they can start their working day feeling fresh and confident after their morning exercise. Equipped with low-maintenance bathroom tiles and compact design, it could be just the affordable and practical solution your business needs. And of course, ensuring drinks stations are readily available for employees to rehydrate post-exercise is a fundamental part of this design concept too.

Offer flexibility

Team building and work aside, it’s essential that employees take time out of the office. A great way to do this is by encouraging flexible hours or working from a remote location such as a coffee shop or even at home a few days a week. The only downside to such working structures is that your office is likely to be quite empty outside of peak times. 

To rectify this issue, consider adopting ‘hoteling’, which is a method of office management which is increasing in popularity. Essentially, ‘hoteling’ eliminates assigned seating that in turn, offers greater productivity, mobility, flexibility, and efficiency. This method offers employees the chance to reserve their seating specifically for days or hours when they will be in the office, which is ideal for those who enjoy working remotely. 

On the other hand, if someone needs to focus on a heads-down project, they’ll be able to reserve a desk in a quieter location to better cater for their specific needs, or alternatively a group space for an inter-departmental project. Hoteling is effective for giving employees leverage to choose what works best for them – improving their overall experience and wellbeing. 

Bring the outdoors in

Research has shown that bringing nature into the office can reduce feelings of tension and anxiety, which can lead to improved performance during office hours. Office designs can easily become a monument to man-made objects, with artificial lighting and white walls. An innovative solution to incorporating plant life in an office where there isn’t a great deal of space is a living wall or a vertical garden.

A living wall can be as big or small as you desire and can incorporate as many shades and textures as you feel necessary. From light green leaves to deep purple flowers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to designing a plant wall. However, a tip to help keep maintenance at a minimum is to opt for plants that require similar upkeep, while also creating a bold statement that’s stunning to the eye. Read about the Attenborough Effect to implement eco-friendly practices into your space. 

Given the impact that physical design has on our mental health and happiness, we hope that with these tips, you’ll be on your way to curating an office space that puts wellbeing at the fore. Companies thrive on the abilities of their employees, so what are you waiting for? Make mental health a priority in your organization today. 

Food preferences may vary from person to person, but one thing is for sure: everyone loves a company-sponsored catered lunch.

And while these occasions are a great opportunity for the team to come together and bond over a hearty plate of nachos, these events often put a huge amount of pressure on you, the Office Manager, who must spend hours planning every detail of the meal. From factoring in dietary restrictions to making sure there’s enough clean silverware to go around, there’s more than a few ways that things could go wrong.

That’s why we created this foolproof list of items that you should always have handy in the office kitchen. When the time comes to order catering, you’ll be more than ready for the long line of employees waiting for guacamole. Aside from getting you nominated as “Most Prepared,” these suggestions will also help you minimize both plastic and food waste in the office on a daily basis.

Whether you’ve planned a catered lunch for weeks or just put in a last minute order, here’s 19 things you should have on hand before the trays of Spicy Curry arrive in the lobby.

1. Salt and pepper

Despite the fact that they’re staples in any kitchen, salt and pepper are easy to forget when you’re taking inventory. Pro-tip: put the shakers at the end of the catering line, so people can season their lunch to their liking.

2. Pot holders, oven mitts, and hot pads

Even if you’re getting delivery, moving piping hot trays of lasagna from one side of the kitchen to the other can be quite the pain. Put on some mitts and grab some hot pads to make sure your lunch will be incident-free.

3. Serving spoons, ladles, and tongs

Photo credit: ezCater.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t serve soup with a fork. You just can’t. Keep the lunch line moving by having a variety of serving utensils on hand before that wonton soup even arrives at your door.

4. A bread knife and/or pizza cutter

Whether you’ve ordered a fresh loaf of bread or need to stretch a few more servings out of that pile of pizzas, a bread knife or pizza cutter will do the trick.

5. Sriracha, hot pepper flakes, or harissa

If you have spice-loving office mates, Sriracha, hot pepper flakes or harissa paste will surely satisfy their constant need to feel the burn. (For those who don’t know, harissa is a hot chili pepper paste originating from North Africa.)

6. Silverware, and lots of it!

You can never have enough reusable silverware in your office.

Forks and spoons may not be the first thing on your mind when onboarding 10 new hires, but silverware can really get sparse if you don’t keep track of inventory. Especially if your office has the magical ability to make silverware disappear, you may want to consider taking inventory more frequently.

For larger offices, buying enough reusable silverware for everyone may not be in the budget. In that case, check out these compostable silverware options.

7. Reusable glassware and mugs

As with silverware, it may be impossible for large offices to have enough reusable glasses for everyone. Encourage your co-workers to BYOB, or ‘Bring your own (Reusable) Bottle,’ and stay away from buying red solo cups for every office get together.

8. Get Bevi

Bevi provides customizable beverages on demand.

Never place another order for seltzer water. Bring Bevi to your office and get unlimited refills of still or sparkling flavored water on demand. Bevi is an eco-friendly alternative to bottles and cans because it allows your office to get customizable refills of flavored water using the reusable glassware right in your office kitchen.

9. Recyclable Napkins

These are relatively inexpensive, and easy to buy and store in bulk. Enlist a few of the office’s eco-warriors to help drop a few hints that these napkins belong in the recycling bin, not the trash.

10. Different sizes and types of compostable plates and bowls

Nothing is more annoying than eating ice cream on a plate. If your office likes to throw surprise sundae parties or eats an inordinate amount of chili, it’s probably in your best interest to have more than just large compostable plates on hand.

And remember: even if they’re compostable or recyclable, one-time use containers in your kitchen should be a last resort. Try to put any reusable dishware out first before breaking out the paper plates.

11. Toothpicks

Finger food is not for everyone. Have a stash of toothpicks in the office kitchen and devour that fancy cheese tray with your cheese-loving co-workers.

12. Compostable straws

Who said happy hour can’t be eco-friendly hour as well? Before you start mixing drinks, be sure to have some 100% biodegradable straws on hand. They look and feel just like the plastic ones, letting you enjoy a guilt-free Thirsty Thursday with your co-workers.

13. Sign up for ezCater and download the app

Getting catered lunch for the office has never been easier. With ezCater, you can filter by food type, budget, and location, and see exactly which caterers are right for your office. Download the app before you do any party planning and explore all the different catering options in your area.

14. Menu card holders, index cards and a sharpie

While bigger catering orders might come with printed menu cards, consider making your own for smaller orders. Grab a few menu card holders, some index cards, and a sharpie, and write a label for each kind of burrito you ordered for the office. This is a quick and easy way to make sure you’ll never have to answer the question “What’s in this?” again.

15. Clearly labelled bins for trash, recycling and compost, and the appropriate bags

When there’s 25 hungry people waiting for tacos, recycling bins will probably be the last thing on your mind. Prepare yourself for the rapid influx of waste by keeping extra bags on hand or adding a second recycling or trash bin to the fold. If you have moveable bins, be sure to set them out in a clearly visible area and label them accordingly.

16. Office reusable containers

You can never have too much Tupperware…or can you?

With office catering, it’s always better to have too much than too little. Rather than take up an entire shelf of your fridge with a half empty aluminum tray, transfer the food to a few Tupperware containers. Not only will this help to reduce food waste, but it will also help keep the food fresh.

17. Sponges and microfiber cleaning cloths

Ditch the paper towels for a microfiber cleaning cloth.

In most offices, paper towels are the go-to method for cleaning up spill, yet there are many inexpensive, eco-friendly alternatives. Get yourself a stack of microfiber cleaning clothes and a squad of sponges, and attack that chili spill with some eco-minded enthusiasm!

18. Extra seating and/or outdoor friendly seating

You’ve put so much effort into planning this company bonding session — don’t let people eat at their desks! While not every kitchen space can accommodate the entire company, there are several ways to get more people to eat together.

Catering tastes even better when enjoyed outside.

Have some folding chairs, camping chairs or extra benches in storage so your team can eat as an entire unit. If you access to a bit of space outside, you could even purchase a few folding picnic tables, allowing employees to enjoy a catered lunch in the open air.

19. Feedback survey

Keep up with your office’s catering preferences by collecting feedback each time you order out. There are many quick and easy ways to automate the feedback process that can be setup weeks in advance; use a Slack poll, create a brief google form or put together a survey on SurveyMonkey — you’ll thank yourself next time you have to place an order.

Do you have any go-to items in your office kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!

Never place another beverage order.

Meet Bevi, the smart water cooler that never runs out. Our technicians are sent automatically, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

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.

1. Assess 

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.

2. Recruit

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.

3. Budget 

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

bevi in a fitness center

4. Advertise

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.

5. Evaluate

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?

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.

boston organics

Image: Boston Organics

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.