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Being Scent-sitive At Work

January 4, 2017

Post submitted by Karley Middleton, HUB International

(Wellness Consultant/Advisor to RRC)

The sense of smell is extremely personal – and one that cannot be avoided or modified with ease. The scents one chooses to surround him or herself with is an expression of their personality, as much as the clothes or hairstyle they wear.

However, scent has a much larger impact on those around us than the mere visual assault that can accompany a particularly brazen choice of outfit. Spending the majority of our day in a workplace means that we need to take that impact into consideration more than if we changed environments on a daily basis or worked from home.

So, while one whiff of your body spray causes you to drift away to a more mentally-pleasing location, it could be making your desk-mate seasick at the same time – you both have the right to a psychologically and physically healthy and safe environment to work in, so who gives in?

There is also the case of essential oils, boasting many soothing and healing properties. But, these properties come with typically strongly scented mediums such as lavender for stress and anxiety, peppermint for headaches and nausea, fennel (or licorice) for digestive issues and lemongrass for alertness.

Although these scents are merely the product of an alternative “health-style” choice, they, too have an impact on those who did not choose to use them but rather have assigned seating nearby. Again, who must submit their right to a comfortable and safe workplace in favour of the other’s preferences?

Liken this situation to the ever-popular Battle Over The Thermostat; everyone has a temperature at which they’re their most comfortable and productive, so who gets their way? In this case, those who prefer it cooler will most likely prevail as one can very easily throw on a sweater but you can’t very well strip in the office when you’re sweating through your single-layer blouse.

So, when a scent cannot be unanimously agreed upon (and good luck to you with that!) it must simply be removed. There are ways to reap the benefits of scent through taste (flavoured water) and sight (artwork, plant life) and that will just have to suffice until you’re in the privacy of your own car or home.