The Sweet Scent of Success: How Smell Impacts the Workplace

While we’ve been on the subject of office atmosphere, we continue on to explore the impact our olfactory senses can have on our working environments. Just like aesthetics and ergonomics, how your office smells can actually contribute to or inhibit your work production. Learn a few insights on how to follow your nose to a more efficient workday!

  • A Japanese study¬†found that diffusing the scent of lemon into an office space made data entry workers make 54 percent fewer errors than those who were sniffing regular, unscented air. Peppermint has also been known to trigger memory and help boost productivity, so break out the scented candles. oils, or fresheners to enhance your work-space!
  • Odors we tend to identify as pleasant (baking cookies,or roasting coffee) apparently makes us more likely to help one another and improve other social interactions. If you have a small office with employees, this one sounds easy enough to try with that first brew in the morning.
  • ¬†Aromatherapy might be able to treat stress as well. In a 1985 experiment, psychologist Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona asked volunteers a series of stressful questions while the subjects inhaled one of six scents. While sniffing spiced apple, the subjects showed only half the stress response, including elevated blood pressure as they did when they smelled plain air.
  • Be sure to address communal areas as a small business owner. While pleasing smells can promote harmony and sense of well-being for employees and clients, bad smells can obviously have the reverse effect. Be sure to pay attention to all smells and be aware of any changes that may come up and report them to management if needed. Scent and memory are closely tied together, and if a bad scent is left in one’s nose, they might drag their feet (even subconsciously) to come back into your office again.¬†
  • Beware of desk-eaters. Supposedly, only 45% of fellow employees won’t say anything to a coworker if they feel they are eating something offensive smelling (fish, smelly cheese, boiled eggs, etc), but many employees eat when and where they can, especially when overloaded with work. This is a quick way to create a negative impact on the entire office, so instead, it is well worth encouraging your staff to maintain a quality work-life-balance and leave the office to eat.

If smell is something that is within your control in your work space, all the bullets above help support the effort one should put in to make sure their office is pleasantly decorated with odor…or at least free of bad scents. Just be sure to not overdo it; there really is too much of a good thing, and in shared office spaces like Denver Virtual Offices especially, not everyone may agree on what constitutes a “good” smell!

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