When you hear the term ‘office design’ it’s likely that the first thing that springs to mind is how a building looks. But, with smell often referred to as the most powerful of the senses, it’s surprisingly overlooked when it comes to the workplace. In this blog post we explore the role of smell in office design and take a look at the best scents for productivity.
For a number of years now office design has become much more multi-sensory. It is no longer just about how an office looks. More work is going into acoustics, temperature and furnishings than ever before. It’s surprising, then, that scent in office design is still often neglected.
Using smell to elicit a certain response or action is not a new concept. The retail and hospitality sector have been doing it for years. You’ve no doubt heard that you should bake bread or brew a pot of coffee if you’re selling your home. That’s because smell is the sense most closely tied to memory and emotion – and when used well it can be incredibly powerful.
When it comes to workplace design, scent can also be used to similar ways to shape and drive behaviour. In the same way that certain smells can help us relax and unwind, some aromas can also improve productivity, increase performance and enhance wellbeing. Alongside this, a well-chosen fragrance can also boost the overall workplace experience, setting the ‘mood’ of the office and creating a great first impression for visitors. Cleverly, this is often done subliminally as we process many smells unconsciously.
If you’re sold on the power of smell in the workplace and want to choose a scent for your office, your first step is to think about your office culture and the behaviour you’d like to encourage. Some aromas are great for problem solving. Others are better suited to improving the mood for example. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Of course, the beauty of scents is that they can be easily combined to create a unique effect. If you can’t decide on just one aroma, why not speak to an aromatherapist about creating a blend. Or go one step further and consider having a branded smell for your office. The possibilities are endless!
There are various ways to add fragrance to your workplace. The most obvious is to use essential oils, air fresheners and room sprays but you could also try:
As with all elements of office design, bear in mind that your employees are all unique and may have different preferences when it comes to office scent. Don’t forget to talk to your staff before making any big changes as some may have allergies and other sensitivities. If this is the case, you could try mixing up the fragrances in your office to meet different needs or have scent-free areas for those that prefer no smell at all. Wherever possible use scents that are natural to see the biggest impact. There’s just no substitute for the real thing.
We really do believe that creating a multi-sensory experience is key to great office design. If you’d like an office that not only looks but sounds, feels and smells great, get in touch.