Office odours? Just access your scent drive, but don’t kick up a stink

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USB-powered fragrance diffusers have hit the market, and they’re threatening to make workplaces everywhere smell of tropical rainforests, sakura blossoms, and even summer skies.

The devices plug directly into the USB port of computers, and can be set to a timer. Manufacturers of the products boast the fragrance diffusers improve concentration and work performance, and re-energise workspaces.

But before you go ordering a pallet of the fragrance diffusers for everyone in your building, consider the ramifications of having an aroma-filled (read ‘smelly’) office.

Thirty-four workers at a Bank of America office in Fort Worth, Texas were recently hospitalised and almost 150 needed medical treatment after a colleague in their office sprayed perfume at work.

Fire fighters and paramedics originally feared a carbon monoxide or other gas leak had struck down the workers, as they reported feeling dizzy and short of breath. However after officials conducted a thorough investigation of the building, it was discovered that the ‘noxious gas’ was nothing more than a ladies perfume. A fire department official said the drama began when two people complained of dizziness after their nearby colleague sprayed ‘something’.

A rush of hysteria soon began after a loudspeaker announcement was made instructing anyone with similar symptoms to leave the building – it was suggested the situation escalated so dramatically because of ‘psychosomatic behaviour’, which was described by medical experts at the scene as ‘contagious fear’.

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