We all know that the benefits of proper hydration are vast, and the NHS recommends drinking between six and eight glasses of water per day.
As people spend most of their week at work, it is important to ensure that your employees have access to safe and clean drinking water at all times to enable them to maintain these levels of hydration.
Many workplaces simply direct their staff to the tap should they want to rehydrate, whilst others invest in bottled water vending machines and water coolers, but how much difference does it really make? As an employer, should you be offering one type over another?
What is in tap water?
One thing that puts people off drinking tap water is their fears about what might be in it. It is easy to think that water contains very little nutritional value, but a single glass can contain calcium, magnesium, fluoride, sodium, copper, selenium and potassium.
Water supplies around the UK can vary, as people can find themselves in hard or soft water areas, and hard water can contain more minerals but have more of a distinct taste.
When you turn on the tap, the water that flows through it could have travelled up to a million miles before it gets to you, through pipes which were laid at varying times throughout the last century.
This has led to concerns regarding leakage and contamination from these ageing pipes and it is possible that the water will contain some impurities. It is important to remember that tap water in the UK is strictly regulated and it passes through state-of-the-art filtration systems to ensure it reaches the high standards that have been set and is safe to drink.
Is bottled water better for you?
The bottled water industry is now huge, with many people preferring the taste or believing that it is in some way better for them. Bottled mineral water needs to have come from a natural source such as a spring and can often be found to contain calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, chloride, iron or sulphate.
One of the main concerns about bottled water is in regard to the migration of chemicals from the plastic containers, however, this has been found to be minimal. Many people claim to prefer bottled water as they feel that it tastes better than what comes from the tap or have worries about what might be in their tap water. There is also a perception that bottled water is in some way fresher, particularly when it has been cooled in a vending machine or cooler.
It is important to remember that tap water in this country is perfectly safe to drink, and often contains the same amount of minerals as the bottled equivalent, however, there are very tiny risks of contaminants from both.
Is there a better one to drink in the workplace?
The Workplace Regulation 1992 states that all employees should have access to “wholesome drinking water”, whether that’s from a mains supply, bottled water or water dispensing systems and it must be clearly marked as drinking water.
Many businesses choose to offer a form of bottled water to address the concerns of their staff over tap water and show that they are a caring and considerate employer who is attentive to the needs of those who work for them.
In reality, there is no right or wrong answer as to what type of water should be supplied in the workplace – it all comes down to personal preference and the needs of the individual business. In some cases, a mains-fed water dispenser is more suitable in a certain type of premises where as others may be better suited to a water cooler or bottled water vending machine if a mains supply isn’t accessible.
The key point is that it is a legal requirement so businesses have a duty of care to provide their staff with access to drinking water, in whatever form is right for them.
If you are interested in having a water solution in your workplace, contact our team today to see how we can help.