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  • Consideration of Access to Water in Facilities Management

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    Consideration of Access to Water in Facilities Management

    Water is vital to life. It is the benign substance that keeps us hydrated and functioning and yet, with microscopic bacteria in it, it can become life-destroying. Clean and safe drinking water is an expectation of life here in the UK, and this is what we get when we turn on the tap. But, tap water is not for everyone. Some people worry about the chemicals that are added and the treatment it undergoes before it reaches the tap. Old pipes, once made from lead, are still in existence and those that live and work in old buildings worry about these affects with drinking water quality. There are times when the provision of clean drinking water through the mains may not always be viable, for a variety of reasons. The site where people are working may only be there for a matter of months or, the laying of water pipes may be too costly and too time consuming. This does not mean, however, that water can be forgotten about. Your workforce needs to stay hydrated, and there are many reasons why;

    • People who are hydrated are more alert, both physically and emotionally – when a job role demands concentration, it pays to know that your staff team are functioning at their best. Water can be the substance that provides them with the brain power and energy to stay focused on a task. A 1% reduction in hydration levels can lead to a 10% reduction of concentration.
    • The slump of a sugar rush and the ‘natural’ 2 pm or 3 pm slump – these are a common phenomenon that many say they suffer from, and thus water can help counteract this slump in energy levels.
    • People need to move – you may think that your staff are only really working when they are sat at their laptops, their desks or workstations but actually, this lack of movement can mean that they are not as productive as what they should be. Standing up and walking for a glass of water to the nearest water cooler is one way that people can move and get the blood pressure pumping

    It’s the law

    Every employer, regardless of who they are, must ensure that there is the provision of clean and safe drinking water. A sink in a bathroom does not count! Luckily, in the UK, employers tend to be compliant with the various health and safety regulations and requirements, with many taking the provision of drinking water as a given. But, more employers are beginning to understand the need for workers to have access to water that is cooled and tastes good too because a hydrated workforce is far more efficient.

    Where to place your water coolers?

    Many businesses wonder if there is an optimum or prime spot for a water cooler. To a certain extent, it comes down to space you have and what would seem like a natural place for people to gather. Placing it near the kitchen or staff room area makes sense but clearly, if this is behind the door of the central office, being swiped with the door every time someone goes for a drink is not a great idea. Neither is placing it outside the boss’s office. Many people develop a paranoia that by doing so, they are being watched and monitored. The water cooler needs placing in a position where it will be used. After all, the idea behind a business investing in a maintained water cooler – bottle or mains fed – is to encourage staff to use it. Some companies place theirs on the corridor or in the foyer so that employees can grab a cup of water, or fill their water bottle, on their way out or into the office. It should be accessible and obvious. People need to be encouraged to use the water cooler so that it becomes part and parcel of the company, not hidden away in some far corner.

    Worried about water cooler gossip?

    Just like the kettle in the staff room, the water cooler has the potential to be a magnet for employees to exchange gossip. However, it can also be the place where informal, much needed socialising is done. Why not put your water cooler by the noticeboard and encourage people to linger a little longer?