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Smell is often hailed as the most powerful human sense for its influence over our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Retailers have long spritzed fragrances to lull shoppers into a buying mood, and some dentists use aromatherapy to reduce patients’ anxiety. Now, employers are turning to scents to boost productivity at work, too.

A few years back, U.K. workspace provider Avanta (now owned by Regus) commissioned the former president of the British Society of Perfumers to design a signature brain-boosting scent for its offices. Why? A study out of Japan (led by a perfume company, mind you) found that typists made 54% fewer errors when their offices were scented with lemon. Jasmine and lavender also proved effective. There are caveats—you definitely shouldn’t blanket allergic employees in a fog of scent—but if you’re looking to boost output while countering the pong of stale coffee, a few olfactory tweaks could be just the thing.


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