Does Your Office Smell Productive?

Aromatherapy isn’t just for spas and cosmetics stores any more: The odours in your office can affect the way your people work

Written by Catherine McIntyre

Smell is often hailed as the most powerful human sense for its influence over our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Retailers have long spritzed fragrances to lull shoppers into a buying mood, and some dentists use aromatherapy to reduce patients’ anxiety. Now, employers are turning to scents to boost productivity at work, too.

A few years back, U.K. workspace provider Avanta (now owned by Regus) commissioned the former president of the British Society of Perfumers to design a signature brain-boosting scent for its offices. Why? A study out of Japan (led by a perfume company, mind you) found that typists made 54% fewer errors when their offices were scented with lemon. Jasmine and lavender also proved effective. There are caveats—you definitely shouldn’t blanket allergic employees in a fog of scent—but if you’re looking to boost output while countering the pong of stale coffee, a few olfactory tweaks could be just the thing.


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