How to Keep Your Colleagues (and Yourself!) Hydrated This Summer

How to Keep Your Colleagues (and Yourself!) Hydrated This Summer

How to Keep Your Colleagues (and Yourself!) Hydrated This Summer

Summer is in full swing, and we have already seen high temperatures and summery weather. It’s great that summer is here, and that the sunshine has returned, but the hot weather also increases the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can significantly impact productivity, health, and overall well-being. Because of this, it’s important to stay hydrated whilst working. In this article, I will share more information about this provided by commercial heat pump manufacturer, Clade Engineering. Additionally, we will explore some tips on how to stay hydrated this summer – for your colleagues and yourself.

Staying cool and hydrated at work will naturally be easier for some. Here’s where working remotely definitely has an advantage. Specifically, you can get comfortable at home wearing whatever you want, can set up a fan, and have constant access to your own fridge that you can stock with refreshments.

If you’re working in an office or other work environment, it can be harder. Which is why it’s important that business owners, entrepreneurs, team leaders, and HR managers are conscious of reminding their staff to stay hydrated.

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What is Dehydration?

Dehydration happens when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. Common causes of dehydration include inadequate water intake, excessive sweating, and illnesses that cause the loss of bodily fluids.

Dehydration disrupts normal bodily functions. Additionally, it affects everything from muscle function to brain performance. When people are dehydrated, it’s harder for them to focus and work effectively. Plus, if left unchecked, dehydration can lead to serious health problems including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially during heatwaves.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

It’s important to be able to recognise the early signs of dehydration. Early signs include thirst, dry mouth, and a decreased need to use the bathroom. As dehydration progresses, symptoms can become more severe. More severe symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fainting​. It’s important for team leaders and HR managers to be able recognise these signs in staff members, and also to encourage everyone to stay hydrated.

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How Does Hydration Affect your Body and Mind?

Hydration is very important for both our brains and bodies. It directly impacts our brain function and, by extension, our ability to be productive. The brain is composed of around 75% water. Because of this, it relies heavily on adequate hydration to work at its best. A lack of hydration can soon lead to reduced concentration, memory lapses, and decreased problem-solving abilities. This can result in a decrease in productivity and an increase in errors.

Dehydration also has many physical symptoms. These include muscle fatigue, cramps, headaches, and overall weakness. All of these symptoms can naturally have an impact on workers too, especially those in physically demanding roles. Even for people who are in less physically demanding roles, these symptoms can cause general discomfort that affects performance.

Additionally, dehydration can also have a negative impact on both mood and morale. This can lead to irritability and increased stress levels which are two things that are best avoided in high-pressure work environments. Staying hydrated is great in all ways. A well-hydrated workforce tends to be generally happier and more harmonious. This helps foster better teamwork and collaboration too.

How to Keep Your Colleagues (and Yourself!) Hydrated This Summer

What are the Daily Water Intake Recommendations?

Health experts generally recommend a daily water intake of around 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women. These guidelines can of course vary depending on individual needs, climate, and activity levels. Any employees who are doing more strenuous activities or are working in hot environments would usually need to drink more water than the recommended amounts.

Strategies for Better Hydration in the Workplace

To help your team stay hydrated at work, try the following strategies:

  1. Promote Regular Water Breaks: Encourage employees to take short breaks to drink some water. You could even consider setting up hydration stations with water dispensers and reusable cups.
  2. Provide Reusable Water Bottles: Distribute branded water bottles to staff and encourage them to keep them filled throughout the day.
  3. Use Technology: You can use hydration reminder apps or smart bottles that can help track water intake and remind your employees to drink regularly.
  4. Incorporate Water-Rich Foods: Offer fruits and vegetables like strawberries, cucumbers, and watermelons in the office kitchen to boost hydration.
  5. Adjust Hydration for Weather Conditions: On hot days, remind employees to drink more frequently. During colder months, ensure they understand that indoor heating can also lead to dehydration.

Hydration Strategies for Remote Workers

Hydration Strategies for Remote Workers

For remote employees, it can be more difficult to encourage them to stay hydrated, as you don’t have the structure of an office environment. Here are some things that you can try for team members who work remotely:

  1. Encourage a Home Hydration Routine: Remind remote workers to start their day with a glass of water and to keep a water bottle at their desk.
  2. Virtual Hydration Reminders: Try using team communication tools to send regular hydration reminders and tips.
  3. Hydration Challenges: Organise friendly competitions/challenges to motivate remote workers to meet daily hydration goals.

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Hydrating Alternatives to Water

Water is the best option for hydration, but many other drinks are good choices too. These include herbal teas, fruit juices and electrolyte solutions. Try to avoid too many drinks that are caffeinated or sugary as these can have diuretic effects. For workers with a physically demanding job, electrolyte drinks can be particularly useful as they also help replenish essential minerals lost through sweat.

Special Considerations for Vulnerable Individuals

Older adults and young children are more susceptible to dehydration. Take special care to ensure that these groups, if relevant, have easy access to fluids and are encouraged to drink regularly. For older employees, set up hydration reminders or regular check-ins. For those with children, share tips on keeping kids hydrated​.

Conclusion – Keep Your Staff Hydrated

During these hot summer months, creating a hydration-friendly work environment is key. By recognizing the signs of dehydration, understanding the factors contributing to it, and adopting effective hydration strategies, you can help prevent dehydration-related health issues at work. Employers can provide accessible water sources, encourage regular water breaks for the team, and also integrate hydration into wellness programs. Anyone in leadership roles should set the tone by prioritising their own hydration and encouraging others to do the same. Stay safe, stay hydrated!


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