More and more people are heading back to work. The days of getting your daily grind from your pajamas are ending for more and more people. Some businesses are (in my opinion) getting sneaky about luring their workers back to their place of employment.

A new(ish) potent practice could be compared to brainwashing, even though proponents are using it to make the workplace more inviting. More and more workplaces are using “custom fragrances” to encourage people to enjoy their time at work.

Could this, in a way, be a type of drugging the employees? Sure, the aroma isn’t meant to be overpowering, but just a nice hint of something pleasant, like how the smell of cookies or pie can remind you of grandma’s house or the holidays.

Credit: TSM Boise / Zizly
Credit: TSM Boise / Zizly

There have been many jokes about having a pizza party to put a band-aid on an unhappy workforce problem. Still, compared to the workplace pumping a potential mood-altering fragrance into the HVAC system to make me “happier” to be there, I’d rather have the Pizza party. At least then I can make the choice of the type of chemicals going into my body.


Also, whatever happened to offering incentives to your workforce? Chance at a promotion, higher pay, more vacation time. Heck, even some companies will get a type of employee rec room.

men playing ping pong

The science of this practice is fascinating, but I can also see it as unethical, especially if the employees are in the dark on the matter. Heck, many companies have a Fragrance Free Workplace policy for people with allergies or other potential health issues.

Now companies have been adding special smells to their places for years, but that has always been to help sell their product, not influence their workforce. Will more and more companies follow suit by pumping fragrances into the workplace? Depending on the results, I don’t see why not. When that happens, who plans to start bringing chili every day for lunch, you know, to even the odds?

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