12 Scents to Elevate Mood and Productivity in the Workplace

- Productivity

by Karli Jaenike

Aromatherapy might not be the first technique you utilize to improve productivity in the workplace, but overwhelming research might change how you view the power of smell. Aroma has a tremendous effect on cognitive functions. Our brain associates smell with events so strongly that certain scents are synonymous with powerful memories. A sudden, jasmine-filled breeze can transport you to a moment from your childhood, or a special perfume can instantaneously remind you of a loved one. By incorporating aromatherapy techniques, business leaders can create a positive and productive atmosphere. 

With the transformative power of aromatherapy being a popular topic, new research has revealed just how powerful scents can be, and they are even more important than previously suspected! These findings can be used not only for personal benefit, but to capitalize on productivity and creativity in the workplace. Read on to discover what scents you can use to improve your office and maximize your workday and how managers can effectively use these principles to increase productivity in the workplace.

Enhance Employee Problem Solving Skills

While coffee is already well-known as a morning motivator for many, the scent of the coffee alone works to enhance analytical reasoning and improves task related reasoning skills. Wafting the smell throughout your office can help keep employees alert as well as help them problem solve.

Another scent to try is the beautiful herbal smell of rosemary. Rosemary has been proven to significantly improve memory, with one study concluding 5-7% more accurate results when in use during memory tests! It also possesses the power to increase alertness. Rosemary has the added benefit of being versatile. It can be easily diffused in a conference room during a brainstorming session or added to potpourri in the employee break room.

Suffers of ADHD have also found improvements in attention naturally by using aromatherapy. Vetiver, an exotic and rich aroma, boosts brain pattern function, can decrease symptoms and allow individuals to focus more intently. This added level of concentration is perfect to diffuse in open cubicle or office areas to promote attentiveness throughout the day. 

Improve Employee Performance

Lemon invokes feelings associated with the bright and warm days of summer and ice-cold lemonade. But did you know lemon has been proven to improve performance in the workplace? A Japanese study indicated that workers made 54% less errors in typing when the scent of lemon was present. Managers can add lemon essence into the office effortlessly by spraying a quick spritz around the office. A simple reed diffuser can keep workers on task and the workspace smelling of fresh lemon!

Lemon isn’t the only scent with associated with improved performance, the floral scent of jasmine has been connected to increased beta waves in the region of the brain controlling emotion and activity level. 

Boost Employee Attention and Focus

Do your employees have a deadline quickly approaching? Try cinnamon. This beautiful aroma commonly associated with the holidays is packed with benefits you can enjoy year-round. Researchers have found the scent of cinnamon both improved participants’ performance and heightened their attention. Cinnamon sticks are an easy way for business owners and managers to incorporate the scent around the office. It is an inexpensive option that can easily be tucked into desk drawers.

A popular scent with hidden benefits is peppermint. This crisp scent emits a clean and refreshing aroma, and it also is proven to increase alertness!  Diffused into the air or a dab on the wrist can give employees a boost and help lift their mood. Try keeping a bowl of peppermint candies in break rooms and managers can keep a stash in their offices for employees before important meetings. 

Ginger is a powerful fragrance to consider including in your workday. It helps fight fatigue, so a warm cup of afternoon tea might be just what workers need to power through that presentation. Or offer ginger tea to the breakroom to help your employees beat an impending deadline! 

Recharge and Reinvigorate 

Feeling stressed? This next category will help your employees recharge, reinvigorate and keep your production level at its peak! The earthy smell of pine is a fantastic way to combat depression and feeling down. The refreshing smell of pine is a great option for diffusing in the workplace. 

Lemongrass is another excellent option to add into your rotation. It works to lower anxiety and can keep the whole office feeling at ease and relaxed. Lemongrass and its stress reducing ability makes it an excellent choice for offices of senior managers. It works to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for all who enter. 

Lavender is perhaps the most popular aroma associated with relaxation, and with good reason! Research had proven that students who smelled lavender had increased concentration after their breaks. This makes lavender another excellent choice for break rooms or spaces where employees recharge. 

Which Will You Choose?

There are many ways to incorporate these helpful aromas into your workplace, from essential oils to herbal teas and room sprays. Bring the beautiful scents of nature indoors and invigorate your workforce. Managers and business owners would benefit tremendously by incorporating these aromas into their business strategy. Using aromatherapy to increase focus and reduce stress is an excellent way to promote productivity. With the overwhelming evidence supporting utilizing these scents at work, your office will be productive – and smelling fabulous! 

Photo: Pexels


3 thoughts on "12 Scents to Elevate Mood and Productivity in the Workplace"

  • LEFEBVRE says:

    Hello Karly,
    I am a French student.
    I am currently writing a paper on the impact of odors on humans psyco-cognitive performances.
    Your article is really interesting and brings me a first axis of research. Thank you!
    Could you send me the scientific bibliographical references you used to write it?

  • Adam says:

    Hi Karli,

    I enjoyed your article. Could you please list or share the references used to substantiate these claims? Would be interested to read in-depth the studies behind these discoveries.
    Thanks!

  • Lanai says:

    Very useful! I plan to incorporate some of these immediately

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