In 2014, Small Business Trends asked a young entrepreneur organization about the kinds of business practices that were most important to their operations. Answers ranged from things like hiring the right people, to making decisions based on good data. However, none of the answers addressed employee health. Although health concerns and wellness programs may seem like an extra cost for a business, hbr.org says that even without government incentives, healthy employees will cost you less due to more productivity and less turnover. Although wellness programs take a little time to develop, there are some ways you can start changing the office environment to encourage healthy behaviors, such as providing filtered drinking water.
Using Good Practices Means Going Beyond OSHA Standards
Businesses are supposed to provide sanitary drinking water for their employees, but “sanitary drinking water” can be a relative term. For construction businesses, OSHA requires that drinking water be supplied in a covered container with a dispenser for its employees. For office work, however, the guidelines are less stringent as long as employers are provided with potable drinking water. This means that many employees could be drinking from the break room tap. And if an office only has a few employees working at one time, employees could even get water from the washroom tap as long as they aren’t drinking it at that location and if the bathroom is in sanitary condition. While you can call OSHA in to evaluate the drinking water, you may want to go a step further.
Contaminants can still be in “safe levels” of potable drinking water. For instance, the chemical PFOA—used to make Teflon—can often be found in trace amounts in potable water, but even small doses can be hazardous to health. Even trace minerals, metals, and salts can be found in potable water but can still be harmful over time. So if you want to add your employees’ wellness to your good practices, you will want to look into filtration products.
Some types of filtration products, like Pure Water Technology units, are manufactured with antimicrobial surfaces so that your employees can avoid spreading germs around the office. These products can also inject oxygen levels so that they not only taste good, but so that contaminants are encouraged to biodegrade. A secondary benefit of these products is that your office will be greener since wellness programs often spur employees to drink lots of bottled water and leave empty containers. Because bottles are processed from inorganic materials, they can add to greenhouse gases. However, a filtration system that is hooked into the main line will eliminate this problem.
Good Practices Make a Difference
If you plan on making filtered water a priority in your business instead of just following the minimum requirements set by OSHA, you may be wondering if it really makes a difference. According to Fortune.com, one of the hallmarks of a successful wellness program is creating an environment that offers employees good choices without making them go the extra mile. By providing clean , filtered drinking water, you create that supportive environment.
Furthermore, water that is not only safer but tastes better will help your employees stave off dehydration. According to dietitian Lynice Anderson, about 80% of the adult population in the US goes through their daily activities somewhat dehydrated. Dehydration can cause concentration issues, fatigue, and headaches—all of which can affect your employees’ performances.
As you can see, going the extra mile with good, filtered drinking water can really pay off. Going beyond OSHA standards can help your employees improve their health and help you foster your corporation’s wellness program.