Essential Oils At Work

Can they actually help improve your performance?

Read Length:

7 min

Authors:

Mélanie – Communications & Beatrice – Design Lead

Essential Oils at Work

Beatrice Graphic Design Lead

By: Mélanie Préfontaine-Darius & Beatrice Girleanu

What’s all the buzz about essential oils? They seem to be popping up everywhere. Is there more to this than just a passing fad or are there actual benefits from these little bottles of oil? 

What Are Essential Oils?

Before we discuss possible benefits, lets explain what essential oils are.   

An essential oil is a natural product extracted from a single plant species…the essential oil may be found in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits. They are concentrated and powerful in their fragrance and in their effects.  

 

essential oils and flowers

Consider this, it takes 220 pounds of lavender flowers to create 1 pound of lavender oil  – that is very concentrated.  

 

small flowers in small bottles
bottles of oil and lemon

How Are Essential Oils Used?

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy—a few drops in a diffuser; topically—usually diluted in carrier oils or added to lotions and creams; or internally—which is highly debated and cautioned against as some oils are toxic if ingested.  We recommend doing your own research and consulting an aromatherapist or other healthcare provider before ingesting any essential oils. Also, stick to using organic, 100% pure oils and follow any directions on the bottle for dilution. 

Benefits Of Essential Oils

There are many claims that different oils promote energy, boost your mood, improve focus and reduce fatigue.  A few common oils used for such purposes are peppermint, sweet orange, spearmint, rosemary, and lemon essential oils. Peppermint essential oilsweet orange oil and spearmint oil were found to improve fatigue and performance.  Spearmint and Rosemary essential oils were found to have positive effects on learning and memory.  Rosemary essential oil was also found to improve memory by boosting focus in school aged children.  Lemon essential oil is often found to relieve stress and to boost your mood. 

Using Oils At Work
What about using essential oils while working? One study done in March of 2017 (originally published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineVol. 23, No. 3), shows the real benefits to diffusing essential oils while working.  The study was done with 42 University Administrative workers. 

They were given the task of typing an assignment on a computer.  The group of workers was divided into two, with one group working with Petitgrain essential oil being diffused, while the control group has simple almond oil being diffused. At the end of the assignment, it was concluded that the group who had worked with the essential oils being diffused had completed the task 2.28min faster than the control group.  

colored diffuser

They were given the task of typing an assignment on a computer.  The group of workers was divided into two, with one group working with Petitgrain essential oil being diffused, while the control group has simple almond oil being diffused. At the end of the assignment, it was concluded that the group who had worked with the essential oils being diffused had completed the task 2.28min faster than the control group. 

The study concluded that aromatherapy can improve performance in the workplace.  They explained it that is was as a result from the 3 main components of the Petitgrain Essential oil (linalyl acetate, linalool, and myrcene) causing an autonomic balance on the sympathetic/parasympathetic system of the worker.  Which put simply means that the diffused oil caused the body to regulate on its own and balance out the need to “fight or flight” (sympathetic nervous system) with the need to “rest and digest” (parasympathetic nervous system).  “They determined that there could be an improvement of the mental and emotional condition by a combination of reducing the stress level and increasing the arousal level of the participants in terms of attentiveness and alertness” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27763785/). 

 

The study concluded that aromatherapy can improve performance in the workplace.  They explained it that is was as a result from the 3 main components of the Petitgrain Essential oil (linalyl acetate, linalool, and myrcene) causing an autonomic balance on the sympathetic/parasympathetic system of the worker.  Which put simply means that the diffused oil caused the body to regulate on its own and balance out the need to “fight or flight” (sympathetic nervous system) with the need to “rest and digest” (parasympathetic nervous system).  “They determined that there could be an improvement of the mental and emotional condition by a combination of reducing the stress level and increasing the arousal level of the participants in terms of attentiveness and alertness” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27763785/). 

 

essential oil with dropper

Reap the Benefits

Imagine saving 2 ½ min of time on each task you do in your work day.  Or let’s say you saved 2 ½ min from each hour of work, at the end of an 8 hour work day you would have an extra 20min.  In an age where we try to cram more and more into our day, that 20min is huge! You could use those 20min to plan out your next day, do a few quick stretches in-between tasks, or take a walk during your lunch break. I’m sure you have plenty of ideas what you can do with an extra 20 minutes a day. 

So give diffusing essential oils a try.  Pick just one, or try out a combination of those that we shared with you. See if you can boost your energy levels, improve your concentration and get your work done faster.  If nothing else, at least your office will smell amazing – naturally. 

essential oil with dropper