If a hectic workday finds you being pulled in a thousand different directions simultaneously, it is easy to push that slightly annoying thirst to the back of your mind by telling yourself that you will get something to drink when you finally get a break.
If you are like most managers and executives, that break is unlikely to come until the end of the workday when you can finally slow down a bit and breathe. Not only does this leave you in a constant state of mild dehydration, but failing to stay hydrated at work can also negatively affect your work productivity.
A few changes to your routine can help make staying hydrated at work fun and convenient. The following are simple tips that even the busiest executive can incorporate into their day to ensure that they stay hydrated at work.
Why It Is Important to Stay Hydrated at Work
Your body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. This water is necessary for the proper functioning of virtually every body system, including digestion and kidney function, controlling body temperature, facilitating cell function, and cushioning and lubricating your joints. During the course of a day, you lose between 2 and 3 liters of fluid through perspiration, urination, respiration, and other functions. This amount can increase significantly depending on your level of physical activity and specific working conditions. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, men should consume 3.7 liters of water a day while women should strive for 2.7 liters of water a day.
When you become even mildly dehydrated, you can develop a headache, feel chronically fatigued, and have difficulty focusing and paying attention, which is a recipe for a non-productive day at the office. By making staying hydrated at work a priority, you will have the physical and mental energy that you need to power through your day.
1. Snack on Hydrating Foods
While drinking water is the most effective way to stay hydrated, it is possible to get as much as 20 percent of your daily water needs from the foods that you eat. For example, the lettuce in the salad that you order at lunch is 95 percent water.
Instead of grabbing a snack of chips or cookies from the vending machine, celery, apple wedges, and fresh berries are a healthy and hydrating alternative that you can easily eat at your desk while responding to emails.
2. Use Incentives and Reminders
If you get so engrossed in your work that you forget to go to the water cooler or drink from the bottle sitting next to you on your desk, consider downloading one of the dozens of free apps that will remind you to drink more and help you track your water intake. Even an old-fashioned Post-it note can do the trick. Since the majority of managers and entrepreneurs are somewhat competitive by nature, try creating an incentive that will encourage you to drink more. For example, allow yourself a special treat or purchase if you meet your fluid intake goals for the entire week.
3. Skip Beverages That Can Contribute to Dehydration
Sugary sodas are often easier to find in offices than filtered water. While sodas may seem refreshing and you may crave the jolt of caffeine, they do little to help your hydration. Not only are sodas full of empty calories, but the body requires a significant amount of water to metabolize the sugar, which can actually worsen dehydration.
4. The Right Water Bottle Can Make All the Difference
It is a fact of human nature that if your water bottle is attractive and fun to use that you will be more likely to use it and increase your daily water intake. Look for one that is durable and stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. It should also be easy to disassemble so that you can clean all of the nooks and crannies to prevent the growth of mold and germs. If possible, have a morning and an afternoon water bottle that you mark with time-oriented goals to ensure that you stay on track during the day.
5. Infuse Your Water With Flavor
If your taste buds crave something more than just plain water, consider experimenting with your own infused waters. The idea of infusing water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs is one of the latest trends with designer brands popping up in various high-end grocery stores. Making your own infusions allows you to create your own blends and is much more economical. Some classic combinations include lemon with thyme and pear with fennel.
6. Staying Hydrated When Away From the Office
Staying hydrated at work can be even more of a challenge when you spend time away from the office traveling or in the field. Whenever possible, a super-sized water bottle should be your constant traveling companion. If you know that you are going to be out in the field, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to fill your water bottle so that you will not forget to take it with you.
When traveling by plane, make sure to buy a couple of bottles of water once you get through airport security and pack some hydrating snacks in your carry-on.
7. Help Employees Stay Hydrated at Work
As a manager, you should take an active role in educating your employees about the importance of hydration at work. One way that you can do this is by implementing a hydration task force in your workplace that is responsible for ensuring that all employees have access to fresh water. A hydration task force can create educational materials for employees outlining the importance of staying hydrated, and finding fun ways to encourage employees to drink more water.
Do you have tips for helping yourself or your team stay hydrated at work? If so, let us know in the comments below.