How Scent Marketing Can Enhance Productive Office Operations

Researchers are well aware that the phenomenon known as scent marketing affects human mood and behavior in ways that are only partially understood. Business experts have long studied the physiology of scent, but despite many studies, its influence of behavior and cognition to this day remains somewhat mysterious.

While all business scents are customized to reflect a company’s brand, message and target audience, those that are chosen for the workplace are selected for their ability to increase productivity, enhance the working experience, affect stress and mental focus.

A Complex Situation With A Simple Solution

The average American spends about 1,600 hours per year at the office. For many years, workplaces functioned as mass production factories. Workers toiled in anonymous cubicles uninspired to perform beyond the barest minimum requirement and unmotivated to think of ways to increase productivity.

Despite the advent of new, cutting edge technologies, old ideas still persist, although they are slowly but surely ceding to the creation of a satisfactory working ambiance. Although many factors can affect the ultimate success of any business, the formula for productivity among employees is a simple one and boils down to one basic fact. When employees feel more productive, they perform better.

Many who work in offices are reluctant to accept the idea that a workplace serves more than one purpose. The smart modern office is an all-round sensory experience designed to make workers feel good and more creative. Peter Thompson, a fellow at Henley Business School and a specialist in virtual working, says: “The intention of offices needs to be rethought. People still need to meet to exchange ideas, so the office has to change to be more like a place to have meetings, rather than just doing the work.”

Statistics and Studies That Support Scent Marketing and Office Productivity

According to Jennifer Dublino, vice president of development at Scent World Events, in 2014, the global scent marketing industry grossed an estimated $200 million in revenue and figures have increased 10% annually since. Statistically speaking, a recent study among typists indicating that 54% made fewer errors where a lemon scent was introduced; 33% had similar results when exposed to jasmine and 20% of the participants made fewer errors with lavender.

The Adaptation of Scents For The Office

In past decades, a myriad of workplace aromas were utilized exclusively to mask the odor of cigarette smoke. Since smoking has mostly fallen out of favor and been banned in almost all offices in the last decade or so, a new set of work-related issues involving fragrance in the office have arisen concerning work performance, mental clarity, focus and productivity.

Avanta, an office provider, was so serious about this new dimension that it commissioned a team headed by Ruth Mastenbroek, the former president of the British Society of Perfumers, to create, Ascent, a fragrance specifically designed for the work place to improve brain activity.

According to Clive Lucking, chief executive of Fourfront Group, which has created office space for companies such as Hewlett Packard, Serco and Easyjet, offices by their very nature should encompass a blend of employee interaction, entertainment, home comforts and the cold hand of technology.

In his own words: “With the average person spending over 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime, the office is becoming a fusion of home and office, with pool tables, snug areas, mobile technology, stand-up desks and think tanks.”

Ten Scents That Promote Productivity and Why

Beverley Hawkins, owner of the Vancouver-based West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy, recommends the following scents for boosting productivity and enhancing moods.


Lemon contributes to office productivity because it promotes concentration and mental clarity. Its calming properties help to reduce stress and anxiety and research conducted by Ohio State University indicated that sniffing lemon enhanced worker’s moods and raised levels of norepinephrine, which is a chemical produced in the brain that is linked to decision-making and motivation.


To sniff jasmine is to trigger feel-good beta waves in the brain and to experience acceleration in reaction time. Jasmine has calming properties as well, and has been known to induce feelings of confidence, optimism and vitality. In terms of work performance, a study conducted by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago indicated that baseball players whose armbands were jasmine-scented hit the ball better than those wearing non-scented bands. Still other studies have made a connection between jasmine and serenity, an ideal mood to conduct important business meetings.


An ancient aroma long associated with the relaxation of the human mind, a recent study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology indicated that burning frankincense activates anti-depressive pathways and lowers anxiety. According to Cary Castor, “The essential oil contains numerous sesquiterpenes, which oxygenate and stimulate the limbic system, the seat of our memory and emotions, to improve memory retention and clarity of thinking.”


According to Brazilian researchers, the floral scent derived from flower petals of the tropical tree known as Ylang-Ylang, can increase self-esteem. One formal study concluded that this aroma increased alertness and a sense of harmony with others, which are wonderful work-related qualities when dealing with group efforts and projects.


If there ever could be such a thing, rosemary is the perfect Monday morning office pick-me-up. Known for its stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue, it also improves memory retention and speed and accuracy during mental tasks. According to Cary Castor, “Memory is tied to the limbic system, which associates scent with memories, so inhaling oils when one is studying or reviewing information for a presentation is an added advantage.


Peppermint is a natural stimulant that promotes concentration and clear thinking. It is the perfect accompaniment to company brainstorming sessions. This scent does wonders when workers need a pick-me-up. One study indicated the scent of peppermint reduced the level of annoyance in drivers and another found that it decreased mental fatigue and burnout.


This scent is very calming and helps to quell emotional stress. It has a contagious soothing effect on nerves and can relieve anxiety and depression. A 1996 study concerning proofreading resulted in higher performances among females when lavender was introduced into the room.


The stimulating properties in cinnamon can help combat mental fatigue and improve concentration, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed. In oil form it is very potent and works best when used in a diffuser combined with other essential oils such as rosemary and lemon.


Eucalyptus has many productivity-boosting properties. It refreshes and rejuvenates both body and spirit and increases blood flow to the brain, making minds sharper and more efficient.


This daisy-like plant is known as a great aid in relaxation. Studies suggest that chamomile possesses anti-anxiety properties and can be used to lessen stress and insomnia. This scent can be utilized in any setting and is particularly effective when fighting sleep while attending boring meetings and conferences.

Air Scent Can Help

Whether a company is seeking a large-area air freshening system such as that provided by the cutting edge technologies that created the Aroma Beam, or a more compact set-up more suitable to a smaller workplace, Air Scent, a pioneer in the development of air freshening devices for the last seven decades, can customize the perfect odor control and air freshening devices to suit the productivity needs of any office.

More On the Aroma Beam

There is no better fragrance diffuser system on the market today. The Aroma Beam has the capacity to effectively freshen interior spaces of up to 50,000 cubic feet. It provides controlled scenting for almost every type of work and pleasure-related environment and commercial space. The cartridge provides an even, continuous flow of fragrance for thirty days and both aromas are specifically designed for your office space and/or dozens of other mix-and-match scents are available. Office managers can set the mood, freshen the air and encourage office productivity with the right scent selection.


As a business or office manager, the choice to utilize air freshening systems can only be yours. Introducing an uplifting scent is one step towards constructing a positive office environment, but it is a worthwhile initiative. Work settings where goals aren’t being met, or rumors abound about cutbacks or acquisitions can be counter-productive in terms of work output. Workers may obsess about their futures and engage in other unproductive activity.

The proper scent can put a damper on those Monday morning distractions. Research has indicated that generally speaking, people who work in scented areas demonstrate a higher level of self-efficiency and are more likely to adopt efficient work strategies. In the working office today, scent takes its place alongside chill out zones, soothing music, game rooms and snack bars, which are all part of the grand design intended to create the perfect work place ambiance and mood.

Call us today and let our team help you to transform your office productivity and that all-important bottom line.

Final but redundant thoughts on scents:

I smell the smelly smell of something that smells smelly. ~ Pinterest

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