How Foul Odor Affects the Workplace
We have all been in “that” situation. You have in the past or are currently working with somebody who’s smell makes your eyes water. All could think about is getting away from that person and giving your nose a break. It was time for lunch and you thought you had a little break from the stink, but it was not the case. The smelly person asked you to go to lunch with her. You press forward with your day . . . and the smell.
Offensive odors in the workplace are an issue that need to be taken seriously. Any type of foul odor could be a distraction for the other employees and will lead to a decrease in productivity. In addition to the decrease in productivity, some odors could be a health concern for employees with asthma or other health challenges.
Offending odors include, but are not limited to:
- Poor personal hygiene habits (body odor or bad breath)
- Excessive perfume or cologne
- Tobacco smoke
It is important to have a detailed odor policy in your workplace. This type of policy will help eliminate the majority of possible odor offenses. If a situation does arise, you will have this established policy to support you when handling the offense. Here are some tips in dealing with such a situation:
· Start with a soft approach to set the employee at ease, but don't beat around the bush.
· Tell the employee directly what the problem is as you perceive it and remind them about the policy in your workplace.
· Whenever possible, attach the feedback to a business issue, such as the impact on the team.
· Advise that the behavior is not just affecting the business and the employee's co-workers, but may affect the employee's career.
· Be sensitive to the fact that different cultures have different norms and standards for appearance, bathing, and dress and differences in cooking and eating traditions, too.
These type of situation are often uncomfortable for you and the offending employee, but these situations must be dealt with quickly and in a professional manner. Ensure that any incoming employees are aware of your odor policy. If you do not have an odor policy in place, put one together and make it official.
Offensive odor in the workplace is a serious issue that will impact your employee’s productivity, health, and the culture of your workplace as well.