In my last blog, I discussed the fine tunes of annoying your coworkers through their sense of hearing. In this blog, I turn from ears to nose. Offending a coworker with smells is another common workplace grievance.
How NOT to Annoy: Watch Your Smells & Stinks
Food, candles, cologne.
Whoa…what IS that smell? That reeks!
The stench of lunch seems to be a common complaint in the workplace. Realize that the fish tacos or garlic pasta may taste fantastic, but the lingering smell may drive your coworkers crazy. Likewise, that afternoon snack of microwave popcorn that got a bit burnt may be a bother to some. You should be able to eat what you want, but ensure you are disposing of waste properly (maybe even taking super stinky trash outside to the dumpster) and cleaning up any remaining dishes. Don’t forget to clear out leftovers from the refrigerator that have seen better days! It may be a cool science experiment, but no one enjoys watching leftover takeout food grow mold in the work fridge.
Another nose-related annoyance is that “scented” coworker you can smell coming, be it perfume, B.O., smoke, or from their time with the animals in the barn. In the agriculture and food industries, some of these smells cannot be avoided. How bad is it really? Oftentimes the guilty party isn’t conscious of the smell. This can be a touchy subject, one that you may want to address with your manager or human resources if it’s interfering with the ability to perform your job. Or maybe you can simply try to cover it up with air freshener or scented candle?
That leads us to those scents that we think smell glorious; one person loves lavender, the next prefers warm baked apple pie air fresheners. Realize that the scents you adore may make others cringe. Many workplaces have policies on candles and other fragrances. Try to contain the scents to your personal area and don’t be offended if someone asks you politely to discontinue use.
Bottom Line: Have patience, realize that if someone is annoying you, chances are they don’t even realize it. Take a deep breath, think about it, and ask yourself if it really matters? If the answer is yes, try to address the annoyance with humility, grace, and a sense of humor. “Could this annoy someone’s senses?” We’re all guilty at some time!