Australia experiences scorching temperatures during the summer months, and that means workers can suffer if they aren’t making the effort to stay hydrated while on duty by drinking enough water.
Keeping hydrated is important for health and wellbeing, but many people don’t drink enough fluids during the day. That’s especially if they’re distracted with work-related tasks.
While the amount of water required each day varies from individual to individual, it’s recommended to consume around eight cups a day at a minimum.
There are many reasons why you should encourage your workforce to drink lots of fluids on duty. Here are our top reasons why.
For Indoor Workforces
It's important to drink plenty of water while working, even for those spending time indoors away from the sun.
1. Maintains the Body's Fluids
Water is a part of all the fluids in your body, and these fluids help with digestion, absorption, circulation, salivation, and the movement of nutrients. They also help regulate body temperature too.
The brain communicates with the kidneys on how much fluid is either released as urine or retained within the body as reserves. If you’re low on fluids, your brain will signal your thirst mechanism. That’s why consuming enough fluids is so important to keep the body’s fluids healthy and maintained.
2. Boosts Work Performance
Without filling up on fluids, worker’s performances are likely to decrease in productivity. During strenuous activity especially, drinking only water can enhance physical and mental performance.
After all, cells shrink when they lack fluids and electrolytes. In turn, this results in muscle fatigue so, without the right fluids, the muscles can’t work as efficiently.
3. Maintains Blood Pressure
A lack of fluids can result in the blood becoming thicker, increasing blood pressure in turn. In the long run, this can be very detrimental to your employee’s health.
4. Improves Mood
If your employees are feeling under the weather or fatigued from a lack of drinking water, then, of course, they’re going to unhappy while at work. A low mood at work can result in poor performance, and in the long run, it could encourage them to look for work elsewhere, in an environment where they feel more comfortable and hydrated.
For Outdoor Workforces
The above reasons for consuming water at work apply for those working outdoors too, but they'll need to be even more careful. Here are the reasons why outdoor workers must make the effort to drink plenty of fluids on shift.
5. Avoids Dehydration
Of course, you don’t want your workers to become dehydrated. Water makes up more than half of the body weight and each person loses water when they visit the bathroom, when they sweat, and even when they breathe.
When it’s particularly hot outdoors or when a person is physically active, they lose water even quicker. Without replacing that water by drinking fluids, a person can easily become dehydrated and unwell.
It’s important to understand that some individuals are at higher risk of dehydration. These include those that have certain medical conditions such as kidney stones or a bladder infection, those that are unwell with fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea, those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those that are trying to lose weight.
Older workers may also be at higher risk too. That’s because as you age, your brain may not be able to send signals for thirst as well as it used to.
Encourage your workers to consume plenty of water on duty and let them know the signs of dehydration too. These include little or no urine, urine that’s darker than usual, a dry mouth, extreme thirst, tiredness, confusion, and dizziness.
6. Allows Employees a Chance to Cool Down
Even when the body isn’t moving, we’re constantly creating heat through our metabolism. However, working with physical exertion - especially outside in hot weather - produces heat at a rapid rate, leading to an increase in body temperature. When this temperature soars to a certain rate, it can be difficult to control.
When there isn’t enough water in the body, heat storage increases, and a person is less able to tolerate intense heat strain. Having more fluids in the body can reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during strenuous activity or time spent in warm conditions.
That’s why workers need to have the chance to cool down and drink water to help maintain regular core temperature.
These breaks should be offered in a shaded or air-conditioned area to offer a retreat from extremely hot temperatures.
Plus, employers and supervisors should be aware of daily weather reports. If possible, jobs with high exposure to heat should be arranged to cooler times of the day.
7. Prevents Heat-Related Illnesses
Prolonged or intense exposure to scorching temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses, especially if not enough water is consumed. As your body tries to cool itself down under extreme or prolonged heat, blood moves to the surface of the skin.
These heat-related illnesses can include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke, otherwise known as sunstroke. These illnesses can make a worker feel very unwell, which is certainly not what you want for them.
Encouraging Employees to Drink Lots of Fluids
Encouraging your employees to stay hydrated at work is not only beneficial for their health, but it’s good for the company too. Hydrated employees equal happier employees, and you want to create a workplace atmosphere they feel relaxed in, particularly during the warmer months.
There are several ways you can promote drinking water to your employees. It can be as easy as sending out an informative email out to your team members every few weeks, or you can consider placing appropriate posters around the workplace.
If you spend a lot of time around your employees, you can even mention the importance of staying hydrated now and then when you’re having a catch-up or can announce your thoughts during meetings.
If team members are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and heat-related illnesses, it may be worth having a separate word with them. These include those that are older or those that may suffer from certain illnesses.
We’re here to help by providing you with a customizable ‘Keep your cool’ poster to put up around your workspaces. Simply choose the poster, add your logo and text, and download to print.