While human’s process visual data better than any other, we are still powerfully informed by the other senses.
In this article we’ll explore the evidence for smell affecting productivity and wellbeing in the workplace.
Smell & The Limbic System
Smell is processed in the body’s limbic system, the same part of the brain which deals with emotion and memory, so it’s no surprise it affects our state in powerful ways. This is why smell so often triggers deep childhood memories, and why you’ll commonly find stores smelling of cinnamon and pine needles around Christmas. Retailers know that evoking nostalgic memories promotes happiness and, consequently, increased spending.
Smells in the workplace, when used strategically, can have a powerful impact on any team. One of the world’s largest construction firms, Shimuzu, reputedly places diffusers in its air conditioning ducts to facilitate a lemon-scented wake up call for its employees, moving on to cypress to combat the post-lunch slump.
Even a small office can experiment with scent simply by purchasing an aromatherapy diffuser and some essential oils. For a small outlay you could find your workplace smelling fresh and enticing, your team’s spirits lifted, and perhaps your bottom line improved.