Pros and Cons of Workplace Water Features

Water features such as decorative fountains and displays can provide a number of benefits to the workplace environment. Most managers agree that providing components within the office that afford visual interest can reduce stress, which may lead to enhanced productivity.

However, adding a water feature is not without risk.

Keeping Calm

A water feature provides visual stimulation and soothing sounds. A properly designed and lit fountain can look very attractive. The continual movement of the water provides eye-catching interest to the display that can hold the viewers’ attention. These actions can distract the viewer and take the mind off the stressful parts of the workplace environment.

Indoor Water Feature

Most fountains featuring moving water also produce running-water sounds. These sounds can remind listeners of a calm babbling brook contributing to the calming effect of the fountain. The fountain noises also cover the sounds of the office environment. This effect is known as white noise and can help reduce the stress caused by the more mundane sounds of office machines, phones ringing, and conversations.

Of course, not all workers may feel this way. Consider seating arrangements that keep employees who like these sounds closer to the water feature than those who don’t.

Attract Attention

Fountains can become a gathering place for employees — especially if placed in a break room — or for visitors to the office if placed in a waiting or reception area. Specially designed water features incorporating the logo or corporate identity can serve as marketing tools for customers or promote employee loyalty. Designers often include seating or viewing space around the fountain area to accommodate the attention the devices attract.

Water Wall Cascade

Some people still throw coins into fountains with wishes for luck. Dedicating the coins removed from the fountain to a charitable cause can also provide employees and visitors with a sense they are supporting a good cause. Most businesses find having a good moral compass within the company draws from charitable works.

Better Air

The moving water of a fountain allows some of the water to evaporate into the air. This contributes to the humidity of the air and may actually improve the air quality of the workplace.

The benefit of adding moisture to the office air depends on the climate. In regions with naturally high air humidity, adding more water to the office air may raise interior humidity levels to an uncomfortable and unhealthy level. In dry climates, the presence of a water feature may reduce or eliminate the need for a humidifier.

Cascading Urn

Some fountain designs enclose most of the water movement, reducing evaporation and limiting the amount of water added to the air. Consult with heating and air conditioning professionals as well as fountain designers to determine the best water feature for the office environment.

Safety

The water in a fountain can pose a safety hazard. If the water feature includes an open pool, it should include design features that prevent accidental entrance by children. While children in a workplace are not always common, some do occasionally visit and should be protected. Large fountains may require special insurance riders or coverage depending on design and location.

Water features, depending on the amount of water contained, can be quite heavy. Check the total projected weight of the water feature and make sure it does not exceed the floor’s load carrying capacity.

Gardman Lilly

Leakage also poses a safety hazard for water feature users. Water leaking from a fountain can cause damage to the area around the fountain and to levels below in multi-story buildings. This can create liability concerns for fountain owners.

Minimize liability concerns by choosing a fountain design with a sturdy and watertight base enclosure that will contain all the water included in the fountain in the event of a failure by any component.

A water feature or fountain should be something staff and visitors can appreciate and enjoy –not be a source of irritation and dissent within a workplace.

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6 Comments

  • Thanks for pointing out that we should put warning signs near the fountain to ensure that children will not have accidents due to it. I will keep that in mind since I plan to have an outdoor fountain in the garden. This tip is perfect for me since I have lots of nephew and nieces visiting my house every weekend especially when my sibling need someone to watch over their kids.

  • It would be nice to have a water fountain in my office or home so that I could have some more moisture in the air. That is something I would want to have to help improve the air quality. Maybe I should look into getting a water fountain for the office sometime soon.

  • I agree with what you said that having an indoor tabletop fountain attracts attention as a centerpiece for my office room. Personally, I believe I should get one for my desk since it will lead to better air. Maybe I should make sure that it’s safe once I manage to buy one online so that I can keep myself calm as I listen to its calming sounds.

  • Thanks for pointing out that having a water fountain will be able to improve the air quality in the office. As you said, it increases the air humidity due to the water that evaporates into the air. I guess I will have one installed in my office so that I will not feel so dry every time I’m in there. It might due to how cold it is at times in our area that is why my throat feels dry at times.

  • I’ve been wondering why some businesses like to add indoor tabletop accent water fountains on their tables, and if it’s a good idea to have one at all. I never knew that this actually helps improve their workplace’s air quality, so they may actually be on to something good. If I had a shop, I think I’ll add one as well since it really looks like an interesting feature to have.

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