With APAC firms losing billions owing to employee wellness, today's employers are rolling out numerous wellness programmes and giving employees out wearable devices to track their health.
While there is no doubt these initiatives are helpful, employers tend to forget about a resource that is largely available, very inexpensive, and vital to health and productivity - water.
According to a new survey by Quench, more than three-quarters (77%) of employees did not think they consumed enough water on a daily basis to meet their health needs.
The national survey of more than 1,000 employed Americans found that the most frequently cited cause for not drinking enough water was lack of thirst (43%).
Though seemingly logical, experts have found that thirst is not an on-time indicator of dehydration because the thirst sensation doesn't appear until after people are dehydrated. While optimal consumption varies by individual, conventional wisdom calls for eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (64 ounces).
But why should employers care?
According to experts, even mild dehydration can have a negative impact on productivity, energy level and alertness - something you definitely don't want happening to your workforce.
By gender, the survey revealed men men drink more water than women - 27% of men say they consume enough water, compared to just 20% of women.
By generation, Millennials (26%) are more likely to always drink enough water compared to their older counterparts - Gen X (21%) and Baby Boomers (20%).
That said, the three generations cited similar obstacles for not drinking enough water. The top obstacle by Millennials, Gen Xs, and Baby Boomers was the lack of time to get it (39% vs. 36% and 31%, respectively). This was followed by having to pay for it (27% vs. 24% and 16%, respectively) and dislike of the taste of the water at work (24% vs. 22% and 19%, respectively).
In line with that, Quench offered three tips for employers to encourage staff to drink more water during the workday.
Ensure accessibility Given concerns raised by employees about not having enough time to get water during the day, review floor plans to ensure that water sources are only a short distance from workspaces.
Ensure quality and taste Provide fresh, filtered, great-tasting water that doesn't run out. Installing bottleless water coolers that connect directly to the building water supply and filter it at the point of use are a preferred option to large plastic jugs that are not environmentally friendly and must be replaced each time they're empty or the individual plastic water bottles that are expensive and create environmental problems.
Communicate Create engaging communications campaigns that encourage employees to get up, walk around and get a glass of water throughout the day, and promote a healthy workplace culture.