Air fresheners are not just for washrooms anymore
Have you ever encountered a fragrance or aroma that suddenly evoked in you a powerful memory, thought or emotion? Most of us have. And such experiences demonstrate the potent effect of fragrances on the human psyche. The results of recent scientific studies imply that fragrance has a measurable impact on human behavior. Those reports also confirm that certain scents can have therapeutic benefits to the respiratory system, alter moods, alertness and productivity.Fragrance in the workplace
Not surprisingly, scientists aren't the only ones to have caught wind of odors' enormous potential to boost productivity and sales. Ergonomists and marketers alike are taking advantage of what, until now, has been an overlooked tool.
"We pay so much attention to lighting and visual presentation, but we ignore smell", says Alan Hirsch, a Chicago doctor who's done extensive research on human response to smell.
A pleasant smell introduced in the work environment can be used to:
- Increase alertness of workers and improve their mental concentration
- Help workers be more productive
- Reduce stress (lemon and vanilla fragrances have been tested and found to exhibit this effect)
With an appropriate nose for business, one Japanese company has started using a "fragrance processor" that will diffuse a citrus or woody aroma in the workplace to keep employees more alert. The same processor can also diffuse cinnamon to relieve fatigue, or jasmine to reduce anxiety.
In tests of perfumed offices, typists punching computer keyboards managed to make 14% more strokes an hour and commit 21% fewer errors than they did in odorless rooms.
William Dember, a university psychologist, has tested the effect of fragrance while subjects focused their attention for 40 minutes on picking patterns using computers. Scores were about 15% higher when the subjects were exposed to the fragrances. "Perhaps more important, they didn't exhibit as great a decline in performance over time, a common problem with vigilance tasks", Dember said.Popular fragrances and their therapeutic effects
||Stimulating and refreshing
||Stimulating - soothes the respiratory system
||Uplifting and rejuvenating
||Versatile fragrance: rejuvenating, calming, balancing - induces sleep
||Stimulating, purifying and refreshing
||Refreshing, purifying, calming well-being.
||Uplifting and relaxing.
||Energizing and stimulating.
||Purifying and calming.
||Energizing mental stimulant.