Owning a small business requires you to focus on productivity and subsequent strategies to increase productivity. Whether you run your business from home or work in an office building, the ability to finish tasks is critical to a company’s survival. Creating an efficient work environment involves engaging all of the senses. What we see, taste, hear and feel influences our moods and responses to the world around us. The strongest of the senses, however, is our sense of smell. Planning for a productive office often involves lighting strategies and ambient noise, but what about the aroma? If you take a deep breath and cannot distinguish the many fragrances that make up your office scents, then it’s time to bring strategy to your scent game.
How Scent Affects the Office
Our olfactory system registers in our hippocampus and amygdala — the two areas of the brain tied to memory and emotion. There has been a lot of research on the connection between learning and our sense of smell. Different scents trigger our memories. For example, a home-cooked meal may bring you back to your grandmother’s kitchen. When it comes to learning new material, studying different subjects with different fragrances helps us remember important details.
We can either use scent at the office to our advantage or our detriment. Foul odors can make workers feel unwelcome. Even if your office is in the comfort of your home, smelling anything foul will make you want to break focus and leave early. Various odors commonly plague offices and negatively affect employees.
If you have a smell brewing within the company kitchen, take a peek in the refrigerator. Refrigerators are a significant source of foul odors. Keep baking soda in the fridge to leave a fresh scent and encourage people to remove leftovers each day.
Bathrooms should be cleaned every day. Odor-eliminating products and air fresheners can combat any bad smells coming from the bathroom. Alarming odors, such as sewage, should be addressed by a plumber as soon as possible.
Carpet and upholstery can begin to smell stale, especially if the fabric becomes damp. Sprinkle baking soda on the area and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. After the timer stops, vacuum the baking soda. Enzyme deodorizers digest the source of the odor and remove it.
Clear away any dishes in the sink. If dishes are not the source of the odor, the drain may be the culprit. To clean it, pour boiling water down the drain, followed by half a cup of baking soda. Allow the baking soda to rest before pouring one cup of vinegar and another cup of hot water. Let it sit for another five to 10 minutes before flushing with water.
Tackle trash odors by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the bin. If necessary, bleach can kill any germs left in the can. Sometimes, tossing dryer sheets into the bottom of the garbage can masks the trash odors. Increase good office scents by decreasing the smell of garbage.
No one wants to confront their colleagues or employees about body odor. One way to control body odor is by using an HVAC system. Ensure your air conditioner functions to keep the sweaty workers to a minimum in the summer. While particularly offensive smells should’ve handled by HR, you can eliminate smells through the use of a diffuser.
Olfactory Senses and Creativity
Creativity is the driving force behind most businesses. Without it, there is no innovation or new ideas. When people think creatively, they work better in groups. They are more likely to seek out new information and take calculated risks. Likewise, it increases a person’s ability to handle problems. To problem-solve, you have to be able to think outside the box.
Studies show that olfactory cues and memory recall may trigger divergent thinking. A person in a positive mood is more likely to experience higher levels of creativity than a person in a neutral state. Feeling negatively about your workspace will not help you access your creative thinking skills.
Aromatherapy and Performance
People have used aromatherapy for thousands of years. Aromatherapy is defined as the science of extracting aromatic essences to promote, balance and harmonize the mind, body and spirit. Various scents increase mental clarity and fight against exhaustion and fatigue. For example, when clerics are exposed to peppermint, they are more likely to increase their typing speed and accuracy.
To be productive, you need to stay alert. Everyone knows what it’s like to be distracted by social media or daydream instead of staying on task. The right atmosphere eliminates distractions. Foul odors make it difficult for individuals to make judgment calls. On the other hand, pleasant ones improve a person’s vigilance on monotonous tasks.
Work and Relaxation
A common misconception is that relaxed workers are lazy workers. Some business owners worry that they will get less done if their employees relax too much. Realistically, employees do better when they have less stress. When your workplace culture prioritizes relaxation, most workers will react friendly towards one another. They have fewer conflicts, resulting in less stress and more collaboration.
The physical environment has a massive impact on a worker’s ability to finish projects or stay on task. Several fragrances promote calm and relaxation.
Scent and Task Separation
Smell has a subconscious impact on everyone. Fragrance may stimulate areas of the brain that relax or arouse us. For those with a home office, task separation is critical. You do not want your office to smell like your bedroom or living room. When your office has a particular scent, it tells your brain it is time to sit down and work.
Just like having a cubicle where you know it’s time to focus, smells can do the same thing. For commercial office spaces, diffusing the same fragrance every day causes an association with scent and productivity.
How To Bring New Scents Into the Office
If you want to harness the power of aromatherapy, you need to find a way to distribute fragrance through the office. Candles and wall plug-ins are temporary solutions. They have limited reach and are not practical in an office setting.
Install a Whole Office/House Scent Diffuser
A whole house diffuser offers various benefits for the entire building. Small scent diffusers have a limited impact on an office building. Consider connecting a diffuser to your HVAC system to spread office scents throughout the business. Likewise, if you have a home office, an HVAC diffuser provides you with more flexibility and increased benefits.
Whole house scent diffusers can create a healthier environment. Essential oils can promote a sanitary and sterile space. Some oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties to keep workers safe and healthy. When looking for suitable diffusers and fragrances, consider your business’s needs. If you have a home office, your needs may be different from a commercial building filled with employees.
Control the Office Fragrance
Once you decide to introduce fragrance to the office, you need a plan to control it. Diffusers have benefits, whereas other fragrances may overpower your HVAC diffuser or have adverse effects. Do not use scented air fresheners in the office. Air fresheners may release harmful gases into the air and pose health risks to workers.
Likewise, scented perfumes, hairspray, lotion and aftershave can trigger allergies in some workers. Create a policy for workers when it comes to fragrance. Workers should not wear strong scents that may affect their coworkers.
Choose the Aroma
Once you decide to install a whole house diffuser, how do you choose the right scent? Different aromas have different effects. If you share the office with others, consider their needs and preferences. You can choose fragrances based on a survey of employees. Ensure that no one has sensitivities or allergies to the essential oil or aroma you select.
A high-quality diffuser can support various fragrances. You do not have to settle for one scent. If you experiment with one aroma but decide that you do not like it or that it does not represent your company, look for another fragrance. Likewise, many people want to switch up the fragrances according to season. Try an energizing citrus scent for summer but a warm, spiced scent for winter.
Top 5 Productivity Boosting Office Scents
Entering the world of aromatherapy can be overwhelming. Many beneficial fragrances are essential oils. Essential oils are plant extracts made by steaming various components of the plant to capture the fragrance. Some studies show essential oils can help alleviate anxiety, insomnia, depression, nausea, and low appetite symptoms. There are around 100 oils associated with boosted mental health, energy and focus.
Likewise, different aromas can boost productivity. How do you know which scents will impact you the most? We have a list of potential office scents known to increase productivity.
Lemon encourages concentration. If you feel anxious, overwhelmed or burnt out, lemon scents calm and clarify. Lemons may also boost a person’s immune system and improve circulation due to their antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Peppermint is fresh and invigorating. A burst of peppermint provides a boost to avoid dragging when you start the workday. Additionally, it stimulates the mind and encourages concentration.
Rosemary is commonly used topically for muscle aches and pains. When used in a scent diffuser, it fights physical and mental exhaustion. It is a pleasant, earthy scent with evidence that it can improve memory.
Lavender is one of the most popular scents in aromatherapy. During a hectic office day, your nerves may feel like they are on fire. Lavender oil has natural calming properties. It can relieve tension, treat migraines and help you face a stressful day behind the desk.
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology reveals the power of coffee on productivity. While most of us drink it to boost our mornings, just working with the smell of coffee boosts performance. Smelling coffee may help you feel more alert and energetic.
Work Smarter Using Fragrance
When strategizing for productivity, many business owners focus on what the workers see, hear and touch. However, when we focus on the olfactory senses, we can promote productivity and stay on task. Whether you have an office building full of workers or a home office, how you choose to use scent can make or break your ability to get anything done.
At Whole Home Scenting, we provide an alternative to candles, wax melts and plug-ins. Our air freshener systems connect to your HVAC to provide house-wide aromatherapy. Our diffusers transform liquid fragrance into nanoparticle mists. With the use of a smartphone, you have complete control over your diffuser. Additionally, our products are easy to maintain and install.
Contact us to discover the ideal system for your office. We can help you choose office scents that are tried and true in boosting productivity and helping workers focus.