Smelly-Sit-at-WorkAn offensive odor is a topic I hate to handle. Fortunately, these days I can pass the smelly situation to someone else like the office manager or HR director.

Years ago, the only bathroom for the entire office vented into my office. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of Sam’s Club potpourri air freshener! Every morning and after lunch, the smell of potpourri wafted in the air covering other odors that I was trying not think about.

Nowadays our stinky workplace problems tend to revolve around perfume or those who don’t shower or wash their clothing. The best way to handle these delicate situations is to have a one-on-one conversation with the offender.

Gently bring it to their attention in private. That way, you are not critical if others find their odor to be disruptive. Stress that it is not a personal criticism, but that anything that gets in the way of productivity in the workplace has to be addressed.

There is an old saying that, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” There are no truer words in a situation like this. If you find yourself having to be the one to let a co-worker know that they need to shower or tone down their perfume, remember to be gentle and non-confrontational. By approaching it this way, you will not only save them from further embarrassment but more importantly, make your work environment more pleasant for all.

How do you handle smelly situations in your workplace? Share your stories with me on social media:


In 1989, Cohen founded InfoMart, a multi-million dollar pre-employment screening company that provides services to Fortune 500 companies nationwide. InfoMart has numerous “Best Place to Work” awards from various organizations. As a recognized expert in the employment screening industry, Cohen is often referred to as “The Queen of Screen” and was influential in the founding of the screening industry’s first trade association, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Cohen is actively involved in a number of business and civic organizations and has received numerous personal honors, including a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record, the Entrepreneur of the Year award from YWCA of the USA, an Enterprising Woman of the Year Award from Enterprising Women, and the Phenomenal Women Award from the Siegel Institute.


InfoMart is an industry leader in background screening services, providing businesses the information they need to make well-informed hiring decisions. With more than 26 years in business, InfoMart is a pioneer in developing innovative technology and screening services, from criminal history searches to verifications of employment. Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a designation earned by less than 10% of the industry, InfoMart has been recognized on Workforce Magazine’s Hot List of Background Screening Providers for 10 consecutive years. The company prides itself on its dedication to customers, innovation, and accurate reporting. For more information about InfoMart, please visit or call (770) 984-2727.