Why do we get dehydrated during winter?
Many people assume that dehydration is only an issue during the summer months, but it can still strike in winter, meaning that a water dispenser is a vital tool in the workplace all year round. In the colder months, our thirst response diminishes because our blood vessels constrict to help the body conserve heat. In turn, this tricks the body into thinking we aren’t actually thirsty, and we may simply forget to drink. Although we may not think we sweat as much in winter, we do tend to wear more layers of clothing and the cold weather means our bodies need to work harder to do even the most basic things. In addition, we are losing fluids through vapour loss and our urine production increases, so all of these factors do make dehydration in winter a very real possibility. Having a water dispenser in the workplace may encourage and remind staff to drink even if they don’t always feel the need to.
How can dehydration affect health and wellness at work?
The negative effects on dehydration are well documented. Severe or long term dehydration can lead to kidney failure, seizures and even death, but this is unlikely to happen over a short period of time. On a more immediate level, it can cause fatigue, poor concentration, low mood and irritability – none of which are helpful in the workplace. In fact, they could be contributing factors to the notorious ‘2pm slump’, said to affect a high proportion of the workforce. In short, dehydration can cause mental and physical distractions that may affect performance and productivity at work – some studies suggest it can hinder mental performance by up to 20%.
How can installing a water filter help?
Along with providing workers with the fluid intake that they require to function to a high standard, water dispensers can impact on overall general health. Water flushes out the system, aids in weight loss and is even thought to reduce the risk of developing cancer. During winter when the body needs water, it will help keep staff hydrated and in the right frame of mind to work. On a longer term basis, it improves workers’ general health, meaning a reduction in sick days and a team of fitter, healthier staff who are turning out large volumes of high quality work. Filtered water is also treated to remove chlorine, bacteria and any other nasties from the drinking water, which, once again, is beneficial for general health and wellbeing.
Are there any other benefits?
Winter can be a miserable time of year, especially for those who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Studies show that water filters act as a general meeting point for staff who want to take a few minutes break and interact. This increases positive working relationships and encourages a relaxed atmosphere in the office.