Encourage your employees to drink on the job. (Really.)


Of course, I don’t want you to encourage your small business employees to drink alcoholic beverages on the job, but I do want you to encourage them to stay hydrated while they’re at work…and hopefully, this habit will carry over to when they’re away from their jobs as well.

For the sake of your small business productivity, maintaining the health of your team should be one of your highest priorities. When employees are healthy, they show up every day ready, willing, and able to do their jobs. And while the discussion of employee health issues has been dominated in recent years by the debate over Obamacare and rising insurance premiums, keeping your employees hydrated is an important – and non-controversial – part of the equation.

In the short term, when your employees get dehydrated they tire more easily, lose their energy, and may develop either high or low blood pressure. In the longer term, we know that failing to drink enough water often leads to obesity and all the health problems that accompany being overweight.

Add it all up and you see that getting your employees to drink on the job regularly will have a positive impact on your small business. Here are some ideas:

Stock the ’fridge with water

Provide free water for your team. Keep some in the refrigerator and some at room temperature, if you have employees who would prefer it that way. Also, stock some “bubbly” while you’re at it – Perrier, San Pellegrino, or a generic club soda. Also, consider some of the vitamin-laced water drinks that are on the market.

But, let’s add an element to this strategy. Instead of merely making water available, encourage your employees to drink it. Carry a spare bottle with you when you’re making the rounds at your business, and when you find employees without a bottle of water, give one to them. This “light touch” of pressure from the boss can help them adopt new – and healthier – habits.

Follow up by including the topic in meetings. Let your team know that you want them to have water handy while they’re working and that they need to make hydration central to their breaks.

Tip: You and your employees can meet some of your hydration needs by snacking on fruits and vegetables. Consider providing these in your break room for healthy snacks.

Stock up on logo water bottles

Even if you decide to provide a supply of commercial water for your team, consider ordering a quantity of water bottles with your small business name and logo imprinted on them. Doing this gives you a “twofer.” You encourage your employees to stay hydrated and you help your small business branding.

Order enough so you can give them away to customers and clients. This is an especially smart move for small businesses that are in a service industry. It you run a house cleaning service, for example, the first time you send out a team, include one of your water bottles in a welcoming package.

Tip: Suggest that employees use a lot of ice in their water bottles. Not only does it increase the “refreshing factor,” people will continue to sip the water as the ice melts, even after the main beverage has been consumed.

Hydration? There’s an app for that!

In modern society, there’s an app to solve every problem, and there are several apps that remind users to drink water. Check out Daily Water, if you use Apple mobile devices and Water Drink Reminder, if you prefer Android devices. Let your team know about these apps. Have them test them out.

Let me point out one final benefit you’ll enjoy when you get serious about helping your team develop healthy hydration habits: You’ll end up drinking more water yourself! You’ll feel better and eat fewer junky snacks.