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Most studies and discussions concerning ambient scenting revolve around using scent to drive consumer behavior. However, scent can also be used in business environments that are business-to business (B2B) and corporate internal meetings and workspaces. As the sense most closely tied to emotion and mood, smell can work to help us feel more confident, alert, calm or cooperative.
The new fragrance underwritten by Microsoft vice president Patrick McCarthy is named Liquid Money. According to the perfumer, Larry Murrison, the smell of cold hard cash motivates and enhances self confidence. The women’s fragrance contains a mixture of freshly minted dollar bills, pink grapefruit, tangerines and then freesia, passion fruit, Hawaiian wedding flowers and melon.
In general, citrus scents such as grapefruit, orange and lemon are said to impart confidence in stressful situations, such as a job interview or important sales presentation. Great scents to improve alertness and productivity in the office include lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, geranium, grapefruit and tea tree.
In a Japanese study, key-punch workers made 54% fewer errors when exposed to a lemon aroma, compared to those in an unscented environment. Social psychologist Robert Baron has patented a device for office workers that releases pleasant scents and has a white noise generator and air filter. He calls this a PPS, standing for Personal Productivity/Privacy System.
For situations where there is potential for stress or conflict, such as business negotiations or mediation, the calming scent of lavender, orange, vanilla or green tea and lemongrass can soothe tensions and help the participants work out their issues. These scents can also be used for those engaged in stressful jobs like customer service, airline traffic controls and healthcare.
Workers in factories, construction areas, warehouses and mechanical services typically experience accidents and injuries due to a lack of alertness. The scent of jasmine, eucalyptus mint and tangerine can help them stay alert and safe. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, “Jasmine’s scent triggers beta waves in the front of the head, which stimulate alertness. Jasmine has been proven to help focus and increase hand-eye coordination.”
Scent can be disbursed throughout an office environment via a scent diffuser, either freestanding or connected to the HVAC system. When working in an environment where co-workers are sensitive to fragrance or have asthma, you can still scent your immediate work area with a small personal diffuser, or fragrance oil on a cotton ball or scent stone.