Senses in the workplace environment

Rebecca Barker | 01 April 2022

Senses play a key part in how we experience physical environments. To optimize productivity and enhance the wellbeing of employees the workplace should carefully consider the senses. Sight and smell are two of the key senses we encounter in the workplace, here we have looked at the different impact different colours and scents have on an individual.

Studies have shown that the colours around us can affect our mood and productivity, it is beneficial to consider the colours used within the workplace for example a vibrant range of colours can increase output and spark creativity.

BLUE – Blue is an extremely calming colour that can make you feel centred and relaxed. Blue is known to clear the mind and help steady breathing. The colour blue is also associated with calm promoting mental clarity, control, and creative thinking. This is an excellent colour to use within focus spaces.

GREEN – Green is a perfect colour for office spaces as it symbolises prosperity and helps to reduce anxiety. It is one of the most restful colours for your eyes and is known to be restorative, mind clearing and encourage composure.

YELLOW & ORANGE – Yellow and Orange help people feel more alert, allowing clear decision making. Bold and bright colours in high impact areas help stimulate creativity and energy.

RED – Red provokes the strongest emotions of any colour, which is great if you are not easily phased being in high-stress situations. However, if you are, the colour red may be overwhelming and hinder your work efforts. Red is an excellent colour to use in social areas as it is highly stimulating and causes energy levels to spike creating a feeling of excitement. Red can also increase brain waves activity and incite activity.

Often paired with taste, smell is arguably one of the most powerful of all the senses. Smell is part of the limbic system which is the sector of the brain that controls memory and emotion.
Different scents will help boost different Moods, behaviours and experiences. This helps to engage individuals and provide an immersive experience.
Within commercial spaces this can be achieved by sophisticated scent delivery which is distributed through air conditioning and ventilation within a building or via smaller diffusers which can make adding scent more accessible.

LAVENDER – Lavender has soothing and calming effects with health benefits such as soothing anxiety, insomnia, depression, headaches, nausea, acne, toothache, skin irritations and helping you reach a relaxed state.

ROSE – Rose promotes feelings of joy, happiness, hope and soothing effects. Like lavender rose aroma has a calming and soothing effect that can help manage stress and depression. It decreases breathing rate and blood pressure to relax your mind and body. Inhaling rose essential oils creates a protective barrier in your body lowering the concentration of stress hormones in your body.

CINNAMON – Cinnamon is a physical and emotional stimulator, it helps concentration and speaking also helps you perform better whilst doing a task.

PEPPERMINT – Peppermint is known for relieving body tension and sore muscles. Peppermint also helps manage stress, nervousness and has profound effects on the cognitive system these include reasoning, problem solving, concept, formation, judgement, attention span and memory.

CITRUS – Citrus helps us to feel energized, opens the mind and clears negative emotions. Citrus oils can help reduce feelings of anxiety and irritability, uplifting us and easing stress and depression.

Employers are more aware than ever the importance of providing a workplace that focuses on the wellbeing of their employees in order to attract and retain talent. To optimise the working environment, it is crucial to consider how the senses are impacted and the effect this has on mood and productivity.

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