Can scents in the workplace really affect productivity?

Improving workplace productivity is one of the most enduring challenges for managers and business owners across the UK. In many cases, it can be difficult to put your finger on the reason for performance levels that are not quite up to scratch. It’s often the result of several intangible factors such as company culture, motivation, and morale, which can make it an extremely difficult problem to solve.

Yes, research shows that scents can be used to improve concentration levels and ward off mid-afternoon brain fog.  Pleasant odours are also more likely to improve our social behaviours which are of course a bonus when we are working in an office full of people.

What does the science say?

  • Rachel Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, USA explained that odours can have a dramatic impact on our mood which naturally, can affect how we think and act. When people were exposed to an odour they liked, creative problem solving was found to be better than it was when they were exposed to an unpleasant odour.
  • In another study, employees who worked in the presence of a pleasant smell reported higher levels of self-belief, set higher goals, and employed efficient work strategies.
  • Pleasant odours have also been found to enhance vigilance during tedious tasks.
  • A Japanese study found that specific scents can increase alertness which in turn, results in higher productivity rates. When lemon oil was diffused through an office, performance amongst data entry operators increased by 54%.

Which scents can improve employee productivity in the workplace?

Rosemary – encourages clear thinking, improves memory, and energises the mind.  This is a perfect Monday morning ‘pick me up’.

Citrus – Grapefruit can help to fight mental exhaustion, lemon is uplifting & has calming properties, orange can ease stress and bergamot oil can even be used to help treat depression

Lavender – reduces stress and anxiety, relieves headaches and migraines.

Peppermint – is energising and refreshing and can aid concentration and stimulate clear thinking.

Cinnamon – can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration.

Jasmine – this subtly sweet, highly fragrant aroma offers relief from stress, tension, anxiety, and depression.  When introduced to the office, it is soothing, calming and uplifting but must be used in moderation.

Pine – elevates mood and increases alertness.

Coffee – just the smell stimulates energetic and productive vibes

How can you introduce scents into the workplace?

There are several simple ways you can create beneficial aromas in your workplace.  These include anything from stand-alone machines to systems that integrate into your HVAC system.  Even the smell of fresh flowers or a reed diffuser enhance environments dramatically.  Here’s your opportunity to get ahead of this budding trend and be unique!

The power of ‘scent branding’

Some businesses are taking fragrances in the workplace one step further. By using scent, brands can connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level, resulting in a more memorable experience. 

Scent can attract new customers, increase sales, heighten value perception, and expand brand recognition and customer satisfaction.

There are certain industries which are particularly well suited to scent branding. Hospitality, retail, fitness, and property sales all commonly use scent branding to influence customer behaviour. However, many more brands in other industries are also adopting this approach.

Make your workspace as productive as it can be, by reaching out to one of our team. 

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