I think we’re all familiar with the concept of workplace dress codes – whether written & formal, or informal & unwritten, but have you ever come across rules about the wearing of fragrance? And how would you feel if, at interview or upon induction, you were told you were required to sign up to not wearing any fragrance while in the workplace? I don’t know of any workplace which does have this regulation – yet – but there’s a campaign afoot apparently …
Now, we all know that guy – or that gal – the one who loads up on the fragrance to the extent that your eyes water whenever they’re in the vicinity and you dread, dread, dread being caught in an enclosed space with them. I can state with certainty that a number of perfumes/aftershaves (I’ll not name & shame) make me heave, and I’ve been known to drive teenagers to school in the winter with all the windows down simply because one of them has forgotten the banned ones and dowsed themselves before jumping into my car for the morning commute.
For me, the situation is worse during the hay fever season. I had to totally avoid one colleague during the summer months or actually weep when in his presence. My eyes poured in reaction to his scent – and while he was undoubtedly generous in his application, even a modicum would probably have caused a reaction … if not one which was quite as severe!
The campaign suggests it’s not just perfume & aftershave they’re seeking to eradicate, but any other chemical smells. Presumably they’re also hoping to extend their influence to have professional cleaners only use eco-friendly products – which a number already do to be fair – but is it possible to completely eradicate all chemical odours? One example which occurred to me is business suits are generally dry cleaned – a process which leaves behind a chemical trace that – to the ultra sensitive – could be a problem.
How would you respond to a blanket ban? Would you be more inclined to react favourably to a personal approach with an explanation of allergy or the like?
© Debra Carey, 2020