Scent & Workplace Productivity
All businesses want to smell the scent of success. Successful companies understand the impact of scent on workplace productivity. Physical working environments such as offices have significant impact on work productivity.
Elements that make up the working environment from lighting, decor, music to smell can influence workplace productivity. You do not have to go so far as to renovate the entire office to make the workplace more productive. Instead, you can start small by employing scent strategy to uplift mood and enhance performance.
Why Use Scent in the Workplace?
The Healing Power of Scent: Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been existing for 6,000 years. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defined aromatherapy as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”
Due to the abilities of some essential oils to heal, diffusing them in the form of scent in the office environment can be effective in helping workers to relax and focus as they in the midst of stress.
5 Benefits of Scented Offices
1. Reduce Stress
Stress is unhealthy and negatively affects job performance of workers. Certain scents that have healing properties work like ‘stress busters’ to relieve workers off stress. Researchers from Meikai University’s School of Dentistry in Japan noticed that lavender and rosemary significantly decrease the stress hormone, cortisol. In another study, Japanese researchers also found that linalool; a substance found in lemons, may turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response.
2. Increase Performance
Scent can fight fatigue and promote mental clarity, helping workers focus on their tasks. A study done by Takasago Corporation in Japan found that lemon scent reduced typing error by 54%; 33% with jasmine and 20% with lavender. Another study found that clerics performed significantly better in terms of speed and accuracy for typing task when exposed to peppermint scent.
Read More: Why Scent & Memory Are Linked.
3. Enhance Creativity
Scent neutralises unpleasant odour that affects workers’ mood negatively. According to Rachel S. Herz, assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, people are more creative in problem solving when exposed to a pleasant scent compared to an unpleasant one.
Read More: Scent Basics.
4. Keep the Environment Clean
Scent that have disinfecting properties keep the environment clean in offices where many workers congregate. According to Beverly Hawkins, owner of the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy, “Essential oils have anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and using them in an environment where there are a lot of people can help keep germs at bay.” Keeping workers healthy is critical as it ultimately translates to fewer sick leaves and increased productivity.
5. Employee Retention
One of the worst things that can happen to a company is losing high-performing talents after investing on them for training courses. It is hence critical to ensure that employees feel valued for their hard work. Numerous studies suggest that there is a positive correlation between job satisfaction and employee retention. A study done on 40 office executives by Initial Hygiene Malaysia found that “93% feel appreciated at work if their office is scented”.