May 19, 2007

Office Etiquette Part I

Now that I work in an office with about fifty other people, I am reminded occasionally of some of the reasons I wanted to work from my home. I was self employed for a few years and returned to the open workplace about seven months ago.

The atmosphere at my new place of employment is fairly casual and for the most part is accommodating to each one of us employed there.

One of the things I like about the place is that there are all ages and all nationalities. There are about six men at the office, so they are doted upon by all the women and we all get along very well.

I am allergic to a few things and I don't use any cosmetics that have a fragrance.I keep a box of tissues close by wherever I am; office, home, car.

There is a woman who was hired about three months ago. I don't interact with her at the job except passing in the halls. This woman wears a very strong perfume. Two times when she stood in a close proximity to where I was working I started sneezing, and itchy watery eyes were the next symptom. Since that day, I have heard a few people say something about the strong perfume smell throughout the office but I haven't heard of anyone else who may have the same allergy problem.

This young woman is in the process of getting a divorce, losing weight, and is now a single working mom. She is very attractive and is aware she is good looking but she gets along with everyone and is good at her job. I have to give her kudos for starting over and for her positive attitude.

I don't know if I should be the one to talk to her about my problem with her perfume.
This is apparently my problem and no one else's that I know of, and I really don't want to start a war or endure ongoing antagonism. But clearly I will be doing something soon.

Found at Environmental Health Perspectives: "While many people enjoy wearing perfumes and using scented products, there is a growing outcry from some people who claim that exposure to certain fragrances, including perfumes and scented products, adversely impacts their health. They report symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty with concentration, and allergy-like symptoms. It has been shown that many asthmatic patients have adverse reactions to perfumes and other fragrances, and some researchers hypothesize that exposure to fragrance may actually cause asthma."
"As information continues to surface on the issue of indoor air pollution, it appears that fragrances may represent part of the problem. Some researchers believe that exposure to the types of chemicals found in many scented products may contribute to the development and exacerbation of sick building syndrome, a health condition allegedly caused by indoor air pollution. The chemicals in perfumes, colognes, and deodorants worn by employees add to the chemical mixtures in indoor air, as do fragrances in cleaning products."
"Unfortunately, a lot of people don't realize that this is a serious issue, because it sounds so trivial. There's a huge population who do get sick from these products. In order to help solve the problem, people should use less-toxic, unscented products and be considerate of those who are affected by fragrance sensitivity."

My thoughts exactly. People who have been working in an office environment for many years are aware of things like this and are aware of their part in good office etiquette.


Lorna said...

I think you should tell her the problem you are having. I am sure she would be willing to maybe use one squirt instead of two. :-) I, too, have a reaction to strong odors and perfumes. For me, tho, it can be quite serious as my throat closes and my ability to breathe is restricted. I carry an epipen with me at all times. Do her a favor and tell her about the perfume. You will be doing other people a service as well by telling her. hugssssssssssssssssss

Chuck Cliff said...

You'll have to take it up with her. Both me and my wife have the same problem with perfumes and perfumed products. Sometimes i have to change cars in the subway to work because of the unbearably cloying odor.

But HOW to broach the subject, I don't know what to say -- just take a deep breath, no, wait, that'll get you sneezing....

that frolicsome kid said...

Yeah, you probably should tell her since she's not aware about your allergy. Prevention is better than cure. ;)

And the use of perfume should be restrained especially in a environment like an office. It shouldn't be too strong and be a big distraction from work. ;)