Kaizen, kanban et al - British business is quick to adopt Japanese methods of working. One more unorthodox practice it has shown less enthusiasm for is fragrance therapy (or kosoryomo).
For many years companies in Japan have used natural fragrances in the workplace, usually circulated through the office air-conditioning, to improve staff performance - with dramatic results. Shimizu, Japan's third largest construction company, found that by diffusing a lemon scent in its accounts department it reduced keyboard errors by over half.
Impressed by the effects, several British businesses have sought to import the idea. Ian Buckley, a former marketing executive, runs one such outfit, Lesstress, based in East Sussex. He was converted after having found relief from his own aches through lemongrass oil. He admits that the usual reaction from business is scepticism. He has, however, found clients in unlikely places: one finance director of a City bank extols the virtues of a specially-formulated 'brainstorming blend' that reportedly dispels feelings of lethargy, pessimism and stress. One of its ingredients, peppermint, can also be used to relieve digestive problems - useful for those still sniffing out business over heavy lunches.