As human beings, our five senses are critical to how we take in and perform in the world. In our homes, we use things to positively affect our moods, such as windows for natural light or a dim lamp to relax us at night, our favorite candle burning or music playing, and soft blankets or pillows to make us feel cozy and relaxed.
But what about carrying those things over into the office? Both in the home and the workplace, sensory experiences can have a significant and continuing effect on our mood and well-being.
Out of the five senses of perception, smell is probably an afterthought when it comes to designing a workspace. It’s a small detail, but thoughtful management of smellscapes could provide one of the biggest benefits when done properly.
Candles are often not allowed in the workplace due to fire safety concerns, but aromatherapy now provides an effective alternative. In the recent Kimball whitepaper, “How a Place Makes Us Feel: Designing in Moods that Boost Human Performance”, author Sally Augustin, Ph.D., explains how research with particular scents indicates that some are useful in workplaces.
In general, smelling unpleasant scents increases stress levels, while pleasant scents can reduce them. Lemon scents have been tied to improved performance on mental tasks and better worker moods. The smell of peppermint has been linked to improved performance and speed. Scents of an at-work coffee bar influence travel through spaces and serve as cues for behaviors such as spending time casually with colleagues. Smelling rosemary and common garden sage improves memory performance and alertness.
People are fairer and more generous when they find themselves in spaces that smell clean to them. Several scents have been shown to reduce anxiety levels including sweet orange, lemon, mango, and lavender scents, all of which contain linalool. These smells reduce stress levels through their influence on the immune system and blood chemistry.
Some companies are even moving toward customizing scentscapes to align with departmental objectives in different parts of the building, as well as creating signature scents for their workplaces to establish a stronger and enduring emotional connection with guests and consumers.
Our signature Kimball scent is one of luxury, sophistication and comfort. Sparkling citrus fruits illuminate a green floral heart surrounded by Blonde Woods, Golden Amber and Crystallized Musk. Imagine walking through a grand, lush forest with sunbeams shining through green leaves. With notes of Mediterranean Lemon and Calabrian Bergamot, our signature scent activates the body and soul.