Business of Well-being

Design Your Own Water: A Case Study in Corporate Wellness

The water cooler, that iconic gathering spot where people make small talk, exchange pleasantries and opine about everything from their favorite films and television shows to the current state of office (and presidential) politics - that neutral territory may be a mainstay among workers, but the water within that cooler - drinking it - is something else entirely. If anything, that water has a peculiar flavor and an unsavory chemical profile, making it unsuitable to consume and a waste to fill.

Put another way, how can a business promote corporate wellness when it cannot even make a toast to this concept? That is, who would consummate this tribute with a glass of that water, when they can design their own water?

The question is rhetorical because, when I sample a typical serving of tap (or even bottled) water, the combination of excessive chlorination - water that smells like the shallow end of a swimming pool - and ammonia additives makes me gag.

I also have a scientific interest in this issue because of my training as a biochemist and my preference - no, my demand - for water that tastes like water. Hence the need for a water filtration system that is as effective as it is elegant, a centerpiece of composition and conversation:

A replacement for that heavy, bulbous water cooler with something better; something that is the result of the union between art and science, between health and wellness and industrial design, which offers a refreshing alternative to conventional forms of hydration.

I refer, specifically, to the Water Fall from KOR Water, a "pour-over" water filtration product for the home or office. (Full disclosure: I am not an employee of or a consultant to this company. I am, however, a discriminating customer - and a discerning critic - on behalf of, respectively, health-related products and various medical trends. My comments are my own, which reflect my independence as a contributor to this magazine and my freedom of inquiry for the good of science.)

By enabling people to "brew" their own water, just like they can savor a customized serving of pure Rwandan coffee, or sip a bottle of handcrafted beer from their favorite microbrewery, the use of multiple glass carafes allows users to enjoy filtered pitchers of superior water.

And, unlike that eyesore at the office, unlike that dispenser of lukewarm, foul water, these carafes - with a filter suspended above each of these items - give you a complete filtration system.

Allow me, too, to offer some additional context about the importance of design. For the construction of a health and wellness product can inspire trust - or induce an aversion to the product itself. It is not enough, in other words, for a product to uphold its claims and deliver on its promises: It must also be a physical statement of excellence, which proves that as much labor goes into creating this product as much as (or more than) what goes out of it - which, in this case, is sustainably sourced water.

These benefits are too important to ignore because our collective health is too significant to dismiss. If we want to strengthen the cause of corporate wellness, and secure the integrity of our drinking water, then the choice is obvious.

Let us choose quality.

About the Author

Michael D. Shaw is a columnist, biochemist and protegue of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He writes about a variety of subjects including wellness, health care, and business leadership.

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