Reasons For Bad Office Smells and What to Do About Them

The workplace environment plays a major role in employees’ productivity levels, motivation, and overall satisfaction at work. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why bad smells in the workplace can easily cause one’s productivity and happiness to drop. After all, who could stay productive if they are constantly smelling bad odors in their surroundings?

Luckily, bad odors are not that hard to notice, and you can even hire reliable odour assessment consultants to help you determine what’s causing them. That said, here are some of the most common causes of bad smells in the workplace and how to get rid of them once and for all:

1. Bad hygiene

Poor personal hygiene often manifests through bad smells, such as body odor and foul-smelling breath. Unfortunately, it is difficult to address this sensitive issue since you can’t exactly approach people and tell them to improve their hygiene because they smell. Fortunately, the smell will likely be isolated to their work area, but it can still affect the well-being of the people who are in their immediate vicinity.

So, how do you get rid of bad smells that come from employees themselves? The short answer is that you can’t, but you can help mask the odor by installing air fresheners around the office or placing odor-absorbing plants near the offenders’ work areas.

2. Bathrooms

Without proper maintenance, your workplace bathrooms will soon smell like a human waste even if everyone flushes properly. Not only are bathroom odors annoying, but they can also be hazardous to people’s health, so it is imperative that you hire enough maintenance staff to take care of all of the bathrooms in the workplace. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to invest in high-quality cleaning tools and products that will help ensure that every nook and cranny of the bathroom is sanitary.

Aside from abiding by health standards, keeping the bathrooms clean and odor-free can also help boost employee satisfaction. When they can do their business in peace and without having to hold their breath, they are more likely to be in a better mood.

3. Dirty carpets

Think about all the dirt, food residue, spilled coffee, and other nasty things that end up on your carpets. Despite regular vacuuming, carpets will still smell if they go too long without proper shampooing. The worst part? The smell hardly goes away even if you open all the windows and turn a fan on since the carpets are covering such a large area of your workplace.

For workplaces where carpets are walked on every day, a good rule of thumb is to have them shampooed at least twice a year. Vacuuming, on the other hand, should be done daily by the maintenance staff to prevent the accumulation of dirt, dead skin cells, dust, and crumbs on the carpets.

microwave oven

4. Microwave

Lemon tea, hot chocolate, and brownies smell amazing when they are reheated in the microwave. But when someone heats up their tuna fish sandwich or salmon takeout in the office microwave, the whole pantry could end up smelling horrible. While it may not be harmful, the smell can definitely be annoying.

The best way to prevent this issue is by banning foul-smelling foods in the microwave, such as fish, hard-boiled eggs, curry, and other things that have strong smells when reheated. If, however, an employee ignores this rule, have the maintenance staff deodorize the microwave immediately to prevent the smell from lingering.

5. Fragrances

While they don’t necessarily smell bad, strong fragrances from perfumes, colognes, and deodorants can cause reactions for people with fragrance allergies. More than that, strong smells, even if they are considered ‘pleasant’, can distract people from doing their work.

Some people may not like having to give up their daily fragrance, but imposing a no-fragrance rule is for the benefit of many. Moreover, it is also a good idea to advise employees to use only mild-smelling deodorants and avoid slapping on strong-smelling lotions at work.

6. Trash cans

Trash cans in the work area (not the pantry area) may still emit a foul odor even if they mostly contain paper, boxes, and general office trash. However, when someone throws away their used takeout container or coffee cup in there, the organic residue, no matter how little, can grow bacteria and cause foul odors.

To prevent this, employ a rule wherein no one is allowed to throw food or beverage containers in the work area trash cans. Similarly, ensure that maintenance clears out the trash every day.

It’s hard to focus on work and be in a good mood when your senses are constantly being assaulted by bad smells. So to keep your employees productive, keep the office smelling pleasant by getting rid of these common odor causes.

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