In Defense of the Office Water Cooler

Mention “water cooler talk” and most people will roll their eyes. The water cooler is known for being the gathering spot of office gossips and slackers. It’s the source of every manager’s worst HR nightmares. However, office water coolers are a surprisingly crucial part of keeping your workforce hydrated. Over 80% of all workers are dehydrated every single day, and that translates into real dollars and cents lost over the course of the fiscal year.

Many people don’t have access to clean drinking water–even in the US.

It’s no surprise that one in eight people globally don’t have access to clean drinking water, but water quality across the United States is not much better. Eighty percent of Americans have hard water, and even filtered Brita water can have ten thousand times more bacteria than tap water. Having a clean office water dispenser (or a countertop water cooler, if you work in a smaller office) with an advanced filtration system may really be the only source of pure drinking water that your employees are getting throughout the day.

Dehydration is the enemy of productivity.

The average adult needs about nine glasses of water a day, and dehydrated adults can have a reduced productivity of about 12%. If it seems like a lot of your employees have headaches, struggle to process information, and seemed fatigued, they probably need some water. Most employees, however, avoid water fountains like the plague (so to speak) in order to avoid office germs, so be sure you have a water filtration system and quality countertop water cooler to keep employees healthy.

It’s required by law.

OSHA requires employers to provide potable water for employees . This does not mean that you are required to have expensive bottled water, but if you work in an older building (such as a warehouse-turned-tech-startup or law firm in a rezoned old house) it may be wise to find a commercial water dispenser.

Ultimately, employees appreciate a manager that is willing to do small gestures to make their workday a little more pleasant. You don’t have to spend big money on a top of the line commercial water cooler to make your employees feel special. Providing a bottleless water cooler or small appliance for your office is all they need to have a productive, positive workday.

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