News & Media

News & Media

Aug 11, 2009

Water coolers: a morale booster?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water cooler…it’s gone? Citing budgetary concerns, some corporations are opting to shed contracts with water cooler-delivery companies, the Toronto Star reports.  Surely, a dime or two is saved in the process – we can’t argue with that. But consider the expenses: the health and refreshment benefits of chilled clean water, particularly if the tap has that sometimes funky taste (or you don’t have ice).  And productivity.  Yes, productivity.  Huddling “around the water cooler,” the iconic symbol of the workplace and birthplace of so many creative and innovative ideas, is taken away when water coolers are cut from budgets.  Reporter Diana Zlomislic quotes Tina Dacin, director of the Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Queen’s University School of Business: 

“People forget that the water cooler is more than a cold drink.  Nowadays, organizations deal with problems that are complex, multi-dimensional. You need lots of people to come together and chat and share good ideas. And where you get these ideas shared is in these sacred spaces – like mailrooms, bathrooms, parking lots, coffee rooms and around the water cooler. When you take away the water cooler, where do people come together?”

Now, we’re not going as far as to say water coolers are essential to the workplace, but is saving a few bucks a month worth it for what it does to employee morale and in-office discussions?  When employees see the water cooler go, it’s a symbol that times are getting a bit too tough.  Notes Dacin: “It’s a symbol of goodwill from the organization that they care about their people. What’s the goodwill cost?”  Plus, as Michelle De Los Santos, a business consultant who brings her own half-liter glass pitcher to work to fill up at the water cooler:

“It’s pretty basic,” she says, grateful the corporation hasn’t scrapped its water delivery service. “Nobody wants to go to the bathroom and fill their Thermoses with tap water.” 

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. Additionally, IBWA requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Model Code is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization.

For more information about IBWA, bottled water and a list of member‚ brands, please contact
Chris Hogan, IBWA‚ Vice President of Communications at 703-647-4609 or [email protected].

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