Water has a huge impact on performance, but how to make us drink?

Current European Food Safety Authority recommendations are that we drink 2 – 2.5l of water each day1. There’s a growing body of evidence that hydration levels can affect performance levels, particularly in visual attention and mood2.

This is nothing new; health professionals have been giving advice on water consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle for decades now.

With all of this evidence that hydration drives performance, keeping a team well hydrated is without doubt in employers’ interests. Most company provide networks of coolers and purified water taps. But is the provision of a network of water points enough?

Where the discussion becomes interesting is around the ‘nudge’ needed to drive behaviour change – and increase consumption for health, mood and performance, at work.

Because even with the amount of well publicised advice, it seems the population at large don’t drink enough. Research carried out by YouGov in the UK recently found that 89% of the British population aren’t hydrated enough. A huge 17% of adults drink no water at all during an average day, while only 2% of men and 3% of women are hitting the 2.5l and 2l levels respectively. And of course in warmer weather, our need increases  - it’s surprisingly easy to become dehydrated in these sunnier days.

Workplace water programmes can tackle the need to hydrate by turning awareness into action, and intent into behaviour change. Supplying re-usable water bottles – on every desk makes it ubiquitous and routine.

Simple team-based competitions, reminders, and individual hydration record sheets, all based around rewarding positive behaviours will help ingrain a habit.

We know that drinking water drives performance. The application of incentive programmes can make it fun. All it takes is the right cue.

Talk to us at 2468 about smart hydration networks and incentives for your team.

 

Sources

1 European Food Safety Authority (2011) Scientific opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions (ID 1102, 1294, 1331)

2 Masento et all, Effects of Hydration status on cognitive performance and mood, British Journal of Nutrition (2014) 111 1841-1852

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