The white collar water cooler is an enduring symbol of the American workplace. Dry, stuffy offices filled with men in starched shirts and mismatching ties intermix with female professionals and a variety of colors and often fashionable clothing. This is the office environment that has remained relatively unchanged for the past 25 years. So too has the office water cooler. The water cooler, an unaesthetically designed piece of supposed functionalism that dispenses purified water in cold or hot temperatures, has been to conversation at the workplace what the Roman bath once was 2000 years ago: a designated area where refreshment and momentary escape are found away from the tedium of the day.

Yet this conversation fodder is a poorly designed successor to its Roman ancestor. For one thing, many water coolers simply don’t carry enough water. They require that the individual barrel or jug that is inserted above be replaced often; Sometimes once to twice a workday depending on the consumers. Second, the water sits still in the container, with the only movement coming from the dispensation. This degrades the taste and freshness of the liquid.

Third, the design is perpetually ugly. In the decades since its inception and ubiquitous place in the workplace, the overall design of a water cooler has never become widely fashionable. The materials used in the water coolers construction are either cheap or bland; often both. Sterile white plastic pairs with cool blue plastic jugs that sit atop the stand, always unclear as to where the y will cause the whole contraptions uncertain demise.

For maximum utilization, coolers ought to be larger, attached to running lines of fresh or cleaner water from a central location. This would greatly reduce the amount of labor and time that is consumed by replacing the water units in a manual fashion.

Finally, the design of the water cooler must me overhauled. Toss away the white plastic and replace instead with aluminum and dark plastic contrast. Designed to fit the shades of the office from a hospital white to an engaging black or dark maroon. This aesthetic change would make a water cooler less of an eyesore and more of a resource to the utility of the American worker.

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