Scents in the workplace

Scents in the workplace can be perceived as pleasant, mildly irritating, or debilitating to employees and can significantly affect workplace performance. Review the roles and responsibilities below to find out how you can contribute to a workplace that is respectful of scent sensitivities:

Individuals with scent sensitivities 

  • Inform your supervisor and coworkers of your sensitivities.
  • Look for opportunities to manage your sensitivities (e.g., situate yourself near a window that can be opened, take frequent breaks).
  • Communicate respectfully and work collaboratively to find a solution.

Coworkers

  • Be considerate.
  • Choose scent-free products where possible.
  • Empathize with the individual and support them as requested. Listen respectfully and work collaboratively to find a solution.

Supervisors

  • Actively encourage a scent-free workplace (e.g., choose scent-free cleaning products, personally use scent-free products, describe the benefits of a scent-free workplace at staff meetings).
  • Listen respectfully and without judgement to concerns of individuals with scent sensitivities and coworkers.
  • Seek information to clarify the issue (e.g., triggers, symptoms, suggested ways to mitigate).
  • Coordinate a solution that meets the needs of the scent-sensitive individual and coworkers.
  • Check in with employees frequently to ensure that the solution is satisfactory.