Fans of feng shui – an ancient Chinese practice that champions harmonizing human life with earthly surroundings — swear by its positive effects. While the history of feng shui is a long and detailed one stretching back 3,000 or more years, its modern application can perhaps best be understood as the art of arranging objects, furniture and buildings to be in balance with opposing forces of nature.
The basic idea is to coordinate the energy flow of one’s environment with the habits and actions of those who use it. This, it is believed, brings good fortune.
But is feng shui good for the office, where disharmony can often have the effect of producing profitable outcomes? Or could the practice’s reputed benefits – pumping up creativity and increasing the overall well-being of workers – result in even greater profitability?
Consider these tips, as well as some warnings, about using feng shui in the office:
Face desks and work surfaces at a diagonal toward the doorway. Never shove a desk against a wall. Or, worse, against the back of another desk. A double diagonal formation, open to the doorway, best enhances energy.
Play around with so-called fire colors such as oranges, reds, purples and yellows – brightly colored artwork will work – especially in southern corners of offices.
Remove as much clutter as possible, making sure there is a place for everything. This includes putting away past or incomplete work projects, which only serve as distractions.
Experiment with levels of lighting rather than one glaring wash. Enhance overhead lights with table and floor lamps. And maintain good air quality by opening windows or introducing air-cleansing plants.
Rather than installing mirrors in the office, which might reflect bad energy from people coming and going, use the five feng shui elements instead. Wood, which boosts creativity, belongs in an eastern corner; earth items like pottery, which denote balance, can live in the center of the office; metal objects, signs of financial success, go in the western corner; and, water features, which signify openness and communication, should be put in a northern corner.
In short, master the elements of your office environment rather than letting them master you.