Observing Fragrance Etiquette in The Workplace

Updated on December 10, 2020

Most people appreciate a pleasant fragrance, especially when it hits just right; neither too strong nor too subtle. Apart from home, the workplace is where many spend the bulk of the day’s hours. You might come across a wide selection of scents worn by your colleagues on a typical day at the office.  Different people perceive perfumes and colognes differently and while some might be intrigued, others can’t stand the smell. 

Growing Concern for Perfume Use in the Office

Some people find artificial fragrances irritating due to various sensitivities triggered by excessive applications. Some of the symptoms of fragrance intolerance include headaches, breathing problems, nausea and a running nose. People with pre-existing conditions like asthma are adversely affected by some heavy scents and it is only fair to consider their well-being.

Perfumes are not the only culprits when it comes to triggering sensitivities. Other beauty and grooming products like lotions, soaps and hair sprays can pack strong scents that are equally offensive.  The management needs to set clear guidelines on acceptable scents in the office for all employees’ welfare.

Signs You’ve Applied Too Much Perfume

People have varying levels of tolerance and perception when it comes to scents. As a result, it is not always easy to tell when you have applied excess cologne. However,  here are some tel-tale signs to help you realize when you are wearing an overbearing scent. 

  1. Can you smell it? As a rule of thumb, smelling your perfume continually is a sign you need to tone down on your application. When you have applied just the right quantity, you will only get occasional whiffs of your fragrance.
  2. Do you leave the scent behind? A fragrance lingering long after you have walked out of a room or place is enough indication that you have applied it excessively. 
  3. Do others notice? An overbearing fragrance will attract negative remarks and chances are your scent is too strong if everyone is gossiping about it.
  4. Can you hear sniffles? If everyone sneezes or reaches out for their handkerchief when you pass by, you are wearing an overbearing fragrance. 

Do’s & Don’t’s of Wearing Scents in the Office

Getting perfume etiquette right as early on as possible will allow you to fit into your work seamlessly and avoid ruffling the feathers of colleagues with high sensitivity to scents. 

Please Do:

  • Apply Correctly

There are various ways to apply perfume and choosing an appropriate method will ensure that your scent is not too concentrated.To achieve a milder fragrance, you can spray it from a distance, a few inches from your body and walk into the mist. This way, only small amounts of the fragrance get into contact with your skin. The rest is diffused on your garments lightly for a fresh and subtle scent.

  • Light Applications

There is a notable temptation to apply fragrances generously, especially when you are convinced that it’s the best smelling one in the office. However, light applications are your best bet for a professional appearance. On the other hand, overbearing fragrances depict the picture of an inconsiderate person and will easily pit you against your sensitive colleagues. Changing fragrances also call for light applications until you can gauge the strength of your new addition. You can also visit Scent Split for a comprehensive catalogue of subtle fragrances suitable for the office.

  • Apply Away From The Office

Depending on the nature of your activities, it is easy to feel the need for a fresh application after a few hours. As much as spraying extra cologne from your desk seems convenient,  it is not a wise idea. You expose everyone else to the elements of your scent, which may have undesirable effects like sneezing and coughing. A vacant restroom is ideal for such scenarios, since there is enough room to diffuse the fragrance before the next user walks in. 

  • Know When To Apply

Different office functions and events mean that you have to know when appropriate to apply perfume and when it is not acceptable. For instance, attending a round table conference will make colleagues interact closely. In this view, it is best to avoid applying perfume or to go for the most subtle from your collections. You can use your perfume confidently when you are expecting considerable outdoor activities. 

  • Follow Company Policy

Many companies lack clear-cut guidelines when it comes to the use of scents in the workplace. However, if your company policy gives guidelines on the subject, it is prudent to observe them. This will not only protect your job but also make the work environment favorable for everyone.

Do Not:

  • Use Scents To Mask Unpleasant Body Odor

However pleasant perfumes may smell; they cannot replace basic hygiene practices like the good old shower. Using a fragrance to mask a particular type of body odor is an unreliable attempt at freshness and getting to the root cause of the smell is the surest way to deal with it. Sometimes, unpleasant body smells occur as a result of infections and require medical attention. 

  • Use Multiple Scents

Some people prefer to use a whole line of products in their regimen. This can include shower gels, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and lotions, which are all scented. The result is an overbearing concoction of fragrances that may be unpleasant and a turn-off. It is best to consider using unscented products when you need to apply cologne. 

  • Use Expired Perfume

Many people do not know that perfumes can go rancid after  period of time. To ensure that you do not have to throw away large amounts of fragrances, ensure that the sell by date is reasonably long enough for you to utilize the quantity provided. Rancid perfumes are not only revolting but can have undesirable effects on your skin when applied. 

Using perfumes in a considerate manner in the workplace is easier said than done. Successful implementation of the office policy concerning the use of scents takes concerted efforts from the management and employees. It is essential to hold sensitization meetings to point out the significance of observing the set guidelines and empower all employees with relevant knowledge.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.