Corporations Seek to Lure Workers Back with Offices that Smell Nice

New York, NY, February 22, 2024-"For the millions of workers who find going into the office stinks, some real-estate executives say they have a remedy: Make the office smell better,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Hines, a commercial landlord with skyscrapers worldwide, has developed a special scent it began quietly pumping into the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system in its Texas Tower headquarters in Houston late last year. It’s rolling out the fragrance in more than 20 other office buildings and apartment complexes this year, from Chicago and New York to London and Delhi, India.

“Taking cues from luxury resorts such as St. Regis hotels, coupled with research that shows pleasant smells can boost moods, Hines is part of a growing biophilic trend that aims to make workplaces feel, look and, yes, smell, more like a day at the spa.

“Companies already were populating offices with sensory-stimulating design such as greenery, ample natural light and soothing white noise. Now, the office is getting a nose job.

“‘The amount of clients that are now asking ‘How is this weaved throughout the space?-that conversation has definitely increased,’ Natalie Engels, a design director at architecture firm Gensler, says of wellness aspects, including office scents.

“Hines is aiming for aromatherapy that can enhance worker well-being, explains co-CEO Laura Hines-Pierce.

“‘Each note was thought-fully selected,’ she says, ‘to ensure that walking into a Hines space creates a sense of belonging.’ The company’s signature scent took over a year to perfect. It incorporates 35 ingredients including Asian Sambac Jasmine, which is said to improve happiness and confidence, Indian Sandalwood for easing anxiety, and Italian Pine to fight fatigue.

“Managers have struggled to get more workers into offices, despite demands and perks, from outdoor terraces in the sky to fancy free coffee, to tying pay to attendance.

“Employees can be motivated by gold-plated extras, such as on-site B12 shots and dry cleaning, say Hines executives. But smells at work, proponents say, can actually be transporting.”