December 2, 2011
Office harmony: Fix your workplace feng shui
Whether you’re one of many workers in a row of cubicles or the CEO with the sweet corner digs, your workspace is the place where you are expected to create, inspire, come up with ideas and do your best work.
But if you’re spending more time in your office managing stress and frustration than you are doing your job, it could be time to inject a little feng shui into your day.
Feng shui, an ancient art and science developed in China more than 3,000 years ago, focuses on creating a harmonious environment using the principles of natural energy flow. You can incorporate feng shui in your office in just a few simple steps.
Do have clean, uncluttered workspaces and surfaces. Organize your office so everything has a place to be stored and can be stowed out of sight when not in use. Remove knick-knacks and other detritus. Having too many things placed on your work surfaces can impede the flow of chi, or energy.
Do place your desk on a diagonal facing the doorway or directly facing it. If you have two desks, place them on opposite diagonals facing the doorway. If you have more than two desks, the remainder should be placed on diagonals facing the interior of the room.
Don’t turn your back on business. Never place your desk so you are sitting with your back to the door. To ensure good flow of energy, multiple desks should never be placed in a row or back-to-back.
Do pay attention to lighting. Use at least three levels of lighting in your office -- low, medium and high -- and if possible, ask for full-spectrum lighting to be installed in place of harsh fluorescent lighting. In addition to overhead lighting, make sure you have floor and table lamps.
Don’t accept poor air quality. Interior pollution can be just as bad as exterior pollution. If you have windows that can be opened, do so. Place air-purifying plants in the corners of your workspace.
Do use color to shift the energy. To create a space that exudes energy, try using “fire” colors -- red, orange, purple, pink or bright yellow -- in the southern corner of your office. If you aren’t allowed to paint your walls, put vibrant artwork in these corners instead.
Do use all five feng shui elements to create balance and harmony. Wood promotes creativity; place it in the eastern corner of your workspace. Fire (a lamp or a candle will do) promotes passion and productivity, and should be placed in the southern corner. Earth elements, such as items made of clay or ceramics, create balance and stability when placed in the center of your office, while metal items, which indicate financial success, should be placed in the western corner. Water elements increase communication, learning and opportunity, and should be placed in the northern corner.
Don't put mirrors in your office. Mirrors reflect bad energy coming from outside your office, or from negative clients, customers and other people who enter the room.
Do sit with a wall or solid partition behind your back. This symbolizes that you have the support you need to be successful.
Don’t sit with a window behind you. If you want natural light to fall on your desk, place your desk so the light from the window hits it sideways or at an angle.
Are these tips going to help get you a promotion or magically make your troubles melt away? No. But creating a more pleasant work environment could help with your own happiness, and possibly improve the moods of co-workers.
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