Up until about a year ago, I was a busy employee, dodging glances and losing some staring matches with my boss. Most of our hypothetical altercations happened in and around our office pantry, where a few of us milled about during our breaks.
More often, I found myself getting a stare-down from my boss because she thought I was lingering around the water cooler more often than I should. I blame it on poor timing (or on my bone-dry throat). I flunked my employee evaluation and in retrospect, perhaps this bad luck was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
You see, I got fired and moped around for a few weeks until I decided to start my own software development company. When we nailed our first big contract, I decided to get an office for the friends and family I now kept on payroll.
One of the first things I had to tick off my list was getting a water machine for my office. The process was long; I screwed up a few times. Coming from a fellow small business owner, here are a few things I’d like to share about getting office water coolers:
Metered vs. Tap Water
Before you start ringing up any water company near your area, you need to know if your water’s fit to drink. This can save you the potential expenses and hassles of getting a water machine.
You can start by getting a water testing kit from your local builder or gardening supply. These cost no more than a few quids and they’re fairly accurate. At the very least they can give you a good idea on how much filtration your waterline might need.
Freestanding vs. Countertop
On paper, this question seems like a no-brainer but I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from family and friends. If you’re renting out a building with plenty of room, a freestanding water machine seems like a solid choice.
If your office already has a pantry, consider installing a countertop water dispenser. They take much less space and if you’re looking to connect to your tap, they’re relatively easy to install. Easy cleanup is also a nice bonus.
Still Unsure of What You Might Need?
Get a free contract. Yes, some water service providers do give a free trial, sometimes for a week or a fortnight (while others run up to a month). These are excellent chances to find out what water cooler will fit your office needs like a hand in a glove.
Don’t be in such a hurry to furnish a new office with a water dispenser. Chances are, if you do your homework well, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of trouble (not to mention expense) in the long run.
In sum, here are a few things you need to know about choosing water machines or office water coolers:
- Find out if your tap’s fit to drink. This will also help you to choose what machine to buy.
- Consider your space. Remember, real estate’s a lot more expensive than water.
- Take out a free trial from a water dispenser near your area. These are wonderful chances to test drive a cooler or to find out what you really need.
Have I missed anything? What other tips can you share with small business owners looking to furnish an office with a water dispenser? Leave your story in the comments below.
About the author: Between hunting down bugs and providing inexpensive cloud computing options for small businesses, Beant Bajwa also writes for hepscott a brand leader in providing water machines and office water coolers for companies in the UK.