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These 10 Scents Could Help You Stay More Focused at Work

From citrus to lavender, these scents took the top spots.
Alex Loh
March 24, 2021
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It may have taken a year of working from home, but I've finally found a setup that's both productive and comfortable. For me, it means a desktop that's free of clutter (my digital one also needs to look like this) and a blanket or sweatshirt on a nearby chair in case I get cold. And while I thought these specifications were personal, it turns out others can relate.

A recent poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Aera, discovered that 39% of people said their moods, and subsequently their productivity, were impacted by their environment. And out of 2,000 surveyed, 25% responded that "their environment can 'completely' change how they feel." In the survey, the top three factors when determining a positive environment were cleanliness, smell and temperature.

While I prioritize cleanliness and temperature in my work environment, for 52% of people, smell is also an important element. According to Sandra Barvaux, vice president of fragrance at Aera, "While how something looks might be the first thing you notice, thinking about how it feels, smells and sounds is just as important when considering the overall mood it will help create in your home."

So to help you create the best work environment, check out the top five most energizing and top five most relaxing scents below. I'll be adding these scents to my workspace with the help of an essential oil diffuser (buy it: Amazon, $29). Or, if your office doesn't allow diffusers, try mixing your essential oils with a neutral carrier oil and applying it onto your wrists or temples with a rollerball (buy it: Amazon, $7).

Top 5 Most Energizing Scents

three bottles of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Citrus

Perfect for spring, citrus was listed as the most energizing scent. This pack of three essential oils includes orange, tangerine and lemon. 

Buy it: Amazon, $15 for a pack of three

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Peppermint

Perk up with the refreshing scent of peppermint. The fresh, cool smell would transform any long day at work.

Buy it: Amazon, $14

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Cinnamon

In the poll, cinnamon was listed as both an energizing and relaxing scent. 47% of people said the spice was energizing. 

Buy it: Amazon, $8

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Pine

The scent of pine reminds me of the outdoors, so I can easily understand why this made the list. The fresh and woodsy smell would boost motivation on any day.

Buy it: Amazon, $7

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Ginger

Ginger often smells spicy and sharp, which makes it perfect for sluggish afternoons when you need an energy boost. 

Buy it: Amazon, $9

Top 5 Most Relaxing Scents

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Lavender

When you’re having a stressful day at work, try diffusing a few drops of lavender to relax. This floral scent took the top spot in the poll. 

Buy it: Amazon, $8

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Vanilla

Try the smell of vanilla the next time you need to relax. The floral aroma is perfect for diffusing or rolling onto your wrists.

Buy it: Amazon, $9

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Jasmine

Add a floral note to your environment with the smell of jasmine. You could also diffuse jasmine in the bathroom to create a relaxing oasis while you soak in the tub.

Buy it: Amazon, $7

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Cinnamon

When I think of cinnamon, I imagine warm baked goods like Cinnamon Streusel Rolls or Apple-Cinnamon Muffins and am instantly soothed. It makes sense that 55% of people think this smell is relaxing.

Buy it: Amazon, $8

bottle of essential oil on a white background
Credit: Amazon

Eucalyptus

Rounding out the top five most relaxing smells is eucalyptus. Try this fresh and botanical smell on your wrists or temples.

Buy it: Amazon, $6