Feng Shui Office Design

Environmental design has long been known to increase your happiness in your home life, but did you know that it can also increase productivity at work?

Feng Shui, or the ancient Chinese art of environmental design for better energy flow, has been used by interior designers for years in major corporate offices. How can you apply some of the general principles in your own workspace?

Everything about Feng Shui is designed to maximize the flow of "Ch'i", or energy, through yourself and the environment. The benefits of this in the office are obvious. Five elements are omnipresent throughout most of the practice; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The very name "Feng Shui" means "Wind-Water".

Two things that you should have in an office are plants and mirrors. Both stimulate the ch'i and plants in particular nurture growth and prosperity. Ideally, you should also be able to see outside just by looking up from your desk.

In terms of the layout of the room, you should have a full view of the entranceway to your office or cubicle - of course in a proper Feng Shui office nobody would have cubicles, but we must work with what we have. You should also ensure that you have privacy in your workspace. Your desk should also be centrally located and well-lit.

If you have a wall that you look at all day, like most of us do, put up inspirational art or photos of family and friends to keep positive energy focused towards yourself.

In terms of color, grays and blues, representing metal and water respectively, are good to use for your office. Metal encourages focus and clarity, and water encourages prosperity and creativity.

Air quality and both natural and artificial light are required to maximize your ch'i for the office. Make sure that you can get fresh air, either through frequent short breaks outside or ideally through a proper air circulation system. Poor air quality is responsible for a good portion of the 3:00 fatigue that most people experience.

Where things are in your office are important as well. In the South, don't have any mirrors, blue colors, or water of any kind as this will block the Fire energy. In the North, you want photos of your family and anything relating to Water or Metal. In the Southeast, avoid Fire and Metal, and place images relating to abundance and prosperity.

Corporate offices are turning to Asian management systems like 5S which subscribe to some of the core principles of Feng Shui, like avoiding clutter. Make time on a day that you know won't be busy, every week, to clear out clutter. Give yourself a "junk drawer" that you routinely clean out on this day - that way clutter ends up in the garbage, where it belongs. Clutter blocks the ch'i and henceforth office productivity.

If you are a manager, consider hiring a feng shui-trained interior designer to come in and give you tips and advice as to the layout of your building and offices. Your employees will view you as progressive and this concern for their welfare will not only give them a better place to work, you'll be their hero as well.

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