The benefits of staying hydrated cannot be denied. We look and feel better, we have more energy and the headache that sits behind the eyes seems to have disappeared. And thus, with the advantages of water coolers in the office and the effects of increased hydration being well documented, many a business will look to investing in the right package for them. This could be a plumbed in water dispenser or it may be hiring one, complete with servicing package from the right number of bottles to the right number of recyclable paper cups. You are all set; the dispenser arrives and the question is asked, “Where do you want to put it?” The question is greeted with silence for, up until this point, there has been little, if any, thought given to the location of the water dispenser.
So, what is the answer?
- There are no hard and fast rules
There are no rules that say the water dispenser must be put in such-a-such place, and so the way is now open for you to decide where in your building or office is the right place. Bear in mind it needs to be accessible, as well as in a place that is hygienic (the bathroom is off limits, as you would expect).
- A power point
Depending on the make and model you purchase or hire, you may need a wall socket in which to plug the machine (this is common in dispensers that have an internal cooling unit). This can, in most offices, limit the availability of locations.
- High traffic areas
In the main, you want and need the dispenser to be used by your staff to its fullest and placing it in a place where people access, walk past and so on is a great way to get them to take advantage of the water dispenser. Placing it near the kitchen or staff room is one area that is common, as well as by facilities such as the printer or photocopier. Don’t forget that water coolers are about small quantities of water, taken in a few mouthfuls rather than standing and glugging back a pint of water…
- Reception areas
Many businesses opt to place their water cooler in the reception area or foyer of their building. This is a great visual reminder to staff to grab a cup of water on the way in or out of the building, and many businesses are also happy for their visitors to take advantage too.
- More than one
It has to be said that a large business with a burgeoning work force, as well as a high level of visitors, will struggle to service the hydration needs of such a large populace with one water dispenser. It may be that, as far as is possible within the allocated budget, that dispensers are dotted about the building. After all, you want people to use them and no one queues for the water dispenser!
- Monitoring usage
One way of understanding if the water dispenser is placed in the right place is to monitor the usage of the water cooler. Having three dispensers and a number of water canisters ready to replace is the most obvious way of monitoring usage in one spot; for example, how many times was the canister changed on the dispenser in the corridors, compared to the one next to the staff room or the printer in a given period of time?
The argument for freestanding against plumbed in
Many businesses opt for free standing dispensers and, if you are unsure where is the best place to site a water cooler, then opting for one of this ilk is the best way forward. If the dispenser doesn’t seem to be getting used, then you could try moving it to a fresh location.
Encourage employees to use it!
However, the main factor in the non-use or under use of a water cooler is not encouraging staff to use it. Why not mount an internal email campaign that suggests the benefits for drinking water and staying hydrated at work?
You could also make the water cooler a place where items are advertised or news is posted on a board; this way, people will be drawn to the water dispenser, reading the odd memo or two as they take a glug of water.
The new kettle?
Gathering around the kettle, making tea and discussing the latest office gossip is all well and good, but as a business you need to be taking the health of your staff seriously. Supply clean, fresh water to drink (as well as tea bags!)