As the President of an Inc 500|5000 company and former owner of a healthcare business, I enjoy reading about the latest research and strategies to reduce stress at the workplace and keep staff motivated and healthy. Companies around the country are rapidly adopting wellness programs that encourage lifestyle changes based on the results of employee biometric screenings and health risk assessments. The National Business Group on Health estimates that in 2015, 46 percent of large employers will contribute to employee Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) based on the employee completing a wellness or education program.
The problem with many of these programs however is information overload. Employees are simply not equipped to prioritize all the changes being asked of them – eat this, not that, exercise, stop smoking, get a flu shot, reduce your blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, etc. The list of ailments facing many employees in the U.S. is a long one and not knowing how to prioritize, they simply do nothing.
To cut through the noise, I gave my employees a simple challenge – drink more water. The specific goal was for each employee to drink at least half their body weight in ounces every day for two weeks. According to Brad Davidson, a national speaker on executive health and fitness and the Vice President of Metabolism and Performance Research at Stark Nation, dehydration is one of the top stressors on the human body. Besides thirst, dehydration can also cause headaches, lethargy, muscle cramping and even light-headedness. The body uses water to assist with regulating body temperature and nutrient metabolism. Water cushions our joints, organs and tissues. Despite the side effects of not drinking enough water, most Americans choose to gulp down soda, coffee and other beverages that in many cases actually contain diuretics and promote water loss.
According to survey data, approximately two thirds of Americans don’t drink enough water. Imagine the impact to your own business if you could dramatically improve employees’ productivity, sleep quality and energy levels over the next two weeks. The results of our own challenge were amazing. See if your own company can rise to the challenge and experience similar results:
- 100% of BookPal employees admitted that they were not drinking the recommended amount of water before the challenge.
- 60% reported having more energy at work.
- Several employees reported that they were sleeping better at night and no longer hitting the snooze button in the morning.
- A majority of participants felt less stressed at work.
The team at BookPal also noted that because they were drinking more water, they needed to take more trips to the bathroom. Believe it or not, making these extra trips to the bathroom increases productivity. According to Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath, "Walking increases energy levels by about 150 percent."
All participants are now opting to drink more water simply because of the benefits they experienced during the challenge.
Encouraging your employees to drink more water is a painless and free way to reduce their stress levels and vastly improve their health. It simply requires access to water and a bottle, preferably one marked with fluid ounces for easy measurement. Healthy employees deliver better performance and will reduce healthcare costs.