It’s not all that long ago that an office was a room with four walls and a door, a desk, a file cabinet, some family pictures, a computer — and maybe a plant on the window sill.
But that’s changing rapidly. More and more employees are now working from home, roaming around as digital nomads with laptops in their knapsacks, sharing office spaces in co-working settings, and even sharing desks in hybrid offices.
Adaptation is key. But even the most adaptable office workers can find themselves stressed out by these changes. That’s why some employees are turning to Feng Shui.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art and philosophy that focuses on energy flow. When applied to an office space, it can make a tangible difference in creating a calmer, more productive workspace.
This article explains how to use a Feng Shui office layout to bring more balance to an office environment, including home offices and shared office spaces.
The best feng shui office layout promotes a harmonious flow of energy, ensuring that the desk faces the entrance but isn’t directly in line with the door. It includes natural light, clutter-free spaces, and the strategic placement of plants and water elements to enhance positive chi. Proper positioning of furniture, colors, and decor items further balances the five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—for optimal productivity and well-being.
Feng Shui, which translates to “wind-water” in English, is an age-old Chinese philosophical system that works with the laws of nature as they manifest in our lives.
It’s been around for at least three millennia and has become intricately woven into the tapestry of Chinese history as a guiding principle through which people harmonize their lives with their surroundings.
Feng Shui is a complex philosophy, so we can’t cover it all in this short article. But let’s look at a few basic concepts that are easy to work with to improve the energy flow in an office.
The central energy Feng Shui works with is called Chi (also written as Qi). Chi is the vital life force that flows through all living things. It’s the same energy people work with when they practice T’ai Chi, Qi-gong, or breathing exercises.
You might be familiar with the concept of Yin and Yang. Yin symbolizes the passive, cold, feminine side of life, whereas Yang embodies the active, warm, masculine side.
Together, they govern the flow of Chi. When Chi is in balance and there’s no excess one way or the other, there’s harmony and equilibrium in the natural world, and Chi’s vital energy can flow smoothly through the space.
Similar to the four Western elements (Fire, Air, Water, and Earth), Feng Shui revolves around five fundamental elements that govern nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Each of these elements plays a unique role in shaping the energy in the space around us. Think of them as the building blocks of the universe that influence everything from nature to our moods and health.
So how do you work with these elements to direct the energy flow in a specific space? That’s where the Bagua comes in — a kind of Feng Shui GPS.
The Bagua is an octagonal grid that’s used to map and analyze the energy of any given space. It represents eight areas or “guas” that correspond to different aspects of life in relation to the Five Elements.
The eight guas are as follows:
At the center of the Bagua is a ninth area that represents health and overall well-being. You’ll often find the Yin-Yang symbol positioned there as well.
To apply the Bagua, overlay the grid onto a floor plan of the space you’re in by aligning the bottom edge with the main entrance. This determines which areas of the space correspond to which life aspects.
For instance, if you overlay the Bagua on your entire house floor plan and the Love & Relationships gua falls in a corner in your living room, it’s helpful to place objects in that space that signal love and romance.
In a moment, we’ll look at how to apply these principles to your office layout. But first, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of using Feng Shui at work. Also, feel free to check out some cool office designs here.
Feng Shui can be a game-changer in your workspace, whether you work from home or in an office. With it, you can transform your office into a hub of positive energy.
Imagine a desk where your energy freely flows so you can be in a great mood and more creative.
Think of calming colors and strategically placed plants that not only beautify your surroundings but also reduce stress.
With a Feng Shui office layout, you can even replace those midday slumps with a consistent surge of productivity.
In short, Feng Shui can help you turn your workplace into a sanctuary of harmony and efficiency. And what’s not to like about that?
So, given these benefits, let’s review some helpful Feng Shui principles that work specifically for office spaces.
It all begins with the “command position.”
The command or power position is related to the Career & Life Path gua. This is where you place your desk. The ideal desk placement gives you a commanding view of the room, letting you see anyone who enters.
Ideally, there’s a solid wall behind you, and you have a clear view of the room entrance. A well-placed command position brings feelings of control, safety, stability, and foresight.
How you place your desk chair is important as well. Ideally, you would face the door, but if that’s not possible, at least never have your back to it. Use a supportive, comfortable chair, and make sure you have a strong supporting wall behind you.
As for your computer, avoid placing it by a window since this can cause a glare.
Natural light boosts people’s energy and mood, so it’s invaluable in Feng Shui. In fact, recent data indicates office lighting can have notable impacts on employee satisfaction, alertness, comfort, and safety.
Large windows or even strategically placed mirrors can help maximize natural light levels. Here’s an extensive article on the best office lighting options.
Plants can purify the air and introduce growth energy into the room.
Rather than cluttering the room with randomly placed objects, carefully choose a few beautiful Feng Shui items that symbolize your aspirations — and leave lots of open space for Chi energy to flow around them.
A small water fountain, for instance, can be soothing and calming.
And when it comes to colors, avoid bright, jarring ones. Go for soothing Feng Shui office colors, like blues, greens, or even earthy browns or beiges, to promote calmness and concentration.
By now, you might be wondering, what about shared office spaces? And how do you apply Feng Shui principles if you’re a hybrid worker who uses a flex desk that you can’t claim as your own?
Let’s get into some solutions.
If you’re sharing an office, the first thing to do is make sure there are obstruction-free pathways in the space.
If possible, the desks should be centrally positioned so both employees have a clear view of the entrance.
Avoid being directly in line with each other or with the door; this is called the “death position” in Feng Shui, and it can lead to feelings of vulnerability.
Additionally, go with plants you both like, especially air-purifying ones. Another helpful addition is a water feature positioned in the middle of the space to bring a calming energy and keep stress at bay.
If the space is big enough, you can even use open bookshelves or plants as natural dividers to create semi-private zones for yourselves without blocking the flow of Chi.
If you’re coming into the office only occasionally and use a flex desk or a co-working space, here’s a simple solution to customize your workspace: Carry some small personal items in your bag that resonate with positive energy, such as a small keepsake, essential oils, or even a crystal, and set it out on your flex desk to anchor your energy.
If you regularly visit the same flex space area, another option is to leave a small box with some Feng Shui ornaments, such as a small personal lamp, that you can remove at the day’s end.
Just a word of caution: Be considerate of your coworkers. Your own enhancements shouldn’t disturb others; rather, they should contribute to the overall harmony.
Even if you can’t choose your desk, be aware of your position. If your back is to the entrance, for instance, use a small mirror to reclaim your “power position” by being able to see behind you.
Hot desks and other shared workspaces can quickly accumulate clutter. Do your part by keeping your immediate work environment junk-free.
Also, if possible, occasionally use sage smudging, essential oils, or chime bells to cleanse and invigorate the space.
While shared spaces and flex desks might seem challenging for Feng Shui applications, you can still tap into this ancient wisdom to create a harmonious, real, positive energy and productive environment.
Embracing Feng Shui in your workspace is more than just an aesthetic choice; it’s an investment in harmony, productivity, and overall well-being. Whether you’re in a bustling office building or creating a work sanctuary in your home, the ancient wisdom of Feng Shui can make your workspace vibrant and energizing.
Remember, it’s all about experimentation and personalization. Find what resonates with you, align those elements, and watch as your workdays become more focused and fulfilling.
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To arrange your office for Feng Shui, start by placing your desk in the “command position,” facing the door but not directly in line with it. Ensure a clear path of energy by decluttering and organizing regularly. Incorporate natural elements like plants and water, and balance the five Feng Shui elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) in your decor. Lastly, use proper lighting to brighten dark corners and promote positive energy flow.
For optimal Feng Shui, your office desk should face the “command position,” which means facing the door but not directly in line with it. This position allows you to see anyone entering the office, symbolizing control and minimizing surprise. However, it’s also beneficial to consider personal auspicious directions based on your Kua number, which can vary for individuals.
According to Feng Shui principles, it’s not ideal for your desk to directly face a window, as it can lead to distraction and a lack of support in your work. Instead, position your desk so that the window is to the side, providing balanced natural light without direct glare. If the window is behind you, ensure you have a strong supporting wall or some form of backing to symbolize stability and support in your endeavors.
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