Remote Wednesdays: Fragrances and Productivity

Written by Trisha Bhullar


We’ve explored the relationship between office snacks and productivity, but what about another important human sense? Our sense of smell is a powerful tool that could be used to boost your productivity at work. This guide will cover the relationship between fragrances and productivity, and specific scents that boost efficiency.


Fragrances and productivity? How does that work?

Our sense of smell has a huge impact on our brains, as seen from the popularity of aromatherapy and essential oils. But what’s the scientific backing behind fragrances and productivity?

Ever smelled something that stirred strong emotions in you? Maybe a dish that smells like your mom’s cooking or a perfume a loved one always wore? That’s exactly how closely tied fragrances and your mood may be. In fact, olfactory bulbs in your mind receive neural input about odours your nose detects. These bulbs are part of the limbic system and directly connect to the areas of the brain that process emotion and learning. Other studies have found a direct correlation with scent and your cognitive functions including memory and focus. Ultimately, this means scents have the potential to boost your productivity and enhance focus at work. 

In addition to influencing mood and learning capabilities, certain scents can boost physical health. That means less sick days and more productive employees! Essential oils, for example, have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which could reduce your exposure to germs. 


Which smells boost productivity?

#1 Rosemary

Rosemary doesn’t just smell good; it’s a useful tool to improve memory as well! Rosemary helps to increase alertness, which means fewer careless mistakes that eat away at productive hours. 

#2 Lemon

Who knew a productivity tool was just sitting in your fridge? Lemons are one of the most popular productivity boosters. One study has found that the scent of lemons led to a 54% decrease in typing errors, which in general, extrapolates to fewer pesky errors in your workday. 

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#3 Lavender

The smell of lavender improves productivity in the sense that it promotes a calm, peaceful work environment. Lavender soothes your nerves and can relieve nervous tension. Instead of getting caught up in stress and feeling overwhelmed about your to-do list, you can instead move ahead with a clear head on your shoulders. 

#4 Cinnamon

Besides smelling delicious, cinnamon fragrances boost efficiency by helping you overcome exhaustion. As the workday drags on, it’s almost inevitable for productivity to decline and your mind to wander. To avoid this burnout, try lighting a cinnamon-scented candle. The chemicals properties associated with cinnamon scents can fight mental fatigue and enhance concentration.

#5 Peppermint

The smell of peppermint has an amazing invigoration effect on the mind. It’s kind of like a cup of coffee — but for your nose! Peppermint stimulates clear thinking while promoting energized behaviour and improving the accuracy of your memory. This could be exactly what you need for a brainstorming session, or when you’re dealing with a particularly difficult task. 


Small whiffs go a long way!

Whether you prefer a scented candle, essential oil or a good old cup of fragrant tea, incorporating fragrances into your workspace can be a huge benefit for your productivity.