The Uk has strict legal requirements when it comes to providing drinking water in the workplace. All UK businesses must adhere to the Workplace Regulations 1992 which is a law that requires employers to provide ‘wholesome’ drinking water to all staff.
Regardless of the nature of the role – whether it’s a highly labour-intensive, physical role or a more sedentary, desk-based office role, employers need to provide unlimited fresh and clean water. And employees should feel free and even be encouraged to get a drink whenever they need it.
If you’re an office or facilities manager who takes care of refreshments and water supplies, we’re here to help you understand your responsibilities when it comes to health and hydration in the workplace.
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How much water should we drink every day?
Two-thirds of our bodies are made up of water so it’s important that you and your office team stay well hydrated. Hydration is needed to support healthy digestion and support a healthy heart and circulation. It’s also important for metabolism, temperature control and for brain function. Staying hydrated can support your team in being more productive, and alert and can even help to support your team’s mental health and wellbeing.
With that said, water is, without doubt, the single most essential component of the human body. However, there are a few factors that determine exactly how much a person should drink each day to stay hydrated.
Firstly the level of activity and temperature should be taken into account. If you have a physical role for example and you’re working in the hot sun in high temperatures, you’re going to need more water to stay hydrated than say, someone working in an air-conditioned office.
Age, weight and gender can also play a role in how much water someone needs. However, overall the NHS guidelines are clear. We should be aiming to drink around 6 – 8 glasses of water a day.
If still water isn’t your bag, remember that sparkling water is an equally healthy and hydrating option. Know also that food contributes to your hydration. In fact, it’s thought that on average our food contributes about 20% of our daily fluid intake. If you’re not sure how much water you should be drinking, you can use this handy hydration calculator to help determine your specific needs.
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Why you should care about drinking water at work
If you’re running a busy office, you’ll no doubt want to have a happy, healthy and productive team to ensure you’re getting the best out of them. Ensuring proper hydration is vital for optimal mental and physical performance.
Just a 1% loss in body weight due to fluid loss can impair mental function and lead to fatigue and headaches. Staying hydrated positively impacts mood and overall mental well-being, influencing energy levels, cognition, and even your team’s emotions.
So what can you do to encourage your team to stay hydrated in the office? The best thing you can do is to install an under-counter water tap.
While tap water is generally considered safe to drink here in the UK, it can still contain various impurities. These include chemicals, minerals and even bacteria that can affect the taste and quality of water. Opting for a convenient and affordable undercounter water tap means you can get fresh filtered water that pours still, sparkling, hot, cold and ambient water with ease.
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It’ll save your team from bringing in bottled water in single-use plastic and encourage them to refill reusable bottles from the filtered tap. Having an undercounter tap can also be a great workplace perk that shows your team that you care about their health and well-being.
You can encourage your team to drink more water and even coffee, which counts towards hydration goals, by creating welcoming and engaging kitchen and break-out areas. Taking a water or coffee break should be enjoyable for your team so try to create light and bright areas with plenty of comfortable seating to support collaboration, creativity and generally to help forge relationships in the workplace.
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In an office environment where your team may often engage in more sedentary desk-based tasks, dehydration can happen more easily than you think. You should encourage proper hydration and help prevent common issues related to dehydration, such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a decrease in cognitive function. Simply by providing your team with quality, filtered water from an undercounter water tap, you can help support your team’s mental clarity and stay focused and productive throughout the workday.