Feng shui isn’t just for your home. To bring your office out of the bland, cookie-cutter layouts of years past, incorporate the principles of feng shui. This practice focuses on arranging spaces in a way that creates harmony and well-being for those who inhabit them. In workspaces, that harmony and well-being promotes productivity.
Designing an office space is about achieving balance, says certified feng shui professional Ashley Cantley.
“You want it to be a stimulating environment yet grounding and calming. Visually, the space should not have too much of one thing,” Cantley says.
Striking that balance means using the basics of feng shui, which include good lighting, ample open and uncluttered space and a touch of personal creativity, says feng shui consultant and author Rodika Tchi.
Use these feng shui tips to transform your office.
Create an Open Floor Plan
If you want to design your workspace according to feng shui principles, a concept with open, flowing spaces is ideal.
“It allows for natural light to flow to everyone, people engage with each other easily and you can feed off of other people’s great energy,” Cantley says.
An open floor concept will facilitate discussion and collaboration. It’s time to break down barriers: Cubicle walls and other restricting dividers should go. Place employees at shared desks, and set up spaces where they can naturally congregate, such as lounges or breakrooms with nontraditional seating (think comfy couches) and furniture that promotes teamwork.
Freshen Up Individual Workspaces Too
With an open-plan design, some employees might be distracted by nearby co-workers. Don’t neglect employees who like some solitude. According to Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Survey, innovative companies prioritize both individual and group spaces.
Around your main open area, create nooks or small offices. Tchi recommends that desks inside these spaces be placed so that employees can see their doors. This is commonly known as the “power position” or “command position.” It’s meant to reduce stress because you can still see your co-workers and know what’s going on beyond your space, and you aren’t surprised when someone approaches.
Cantley recommends decorating individual spaces with inspiring wallpaper and graphics, such as images of lakes, still water or babbling brooks. No matter what, everything hanging on the wall — words, art or paintings — should be uplifting. Another thing to keep in mind: Remove all unnecessary items or documents.
“Clutter creates a cloudy mind, so every space should be kept minimal and organized,” Cantley says.
Consider Your Color Choices Carefully
Don’t surround your employees with a sea of muted, uninspired colors. Instead, create a mood that fits your team’s needs.
Need a guide? Cantley shares the effects of several colors and tones:
- White, metallic and gray: great choices to create clear communication
- Earth tones: good calming and grounding colors for high-stress situations
- Bright colors: good for keeping people stimulated
- Yellow: a happy color and good choice for work that isn’t always cheerful
- Red: an energy-elevating color
- Blue and green: smart for meeting rooms, as they stimulate new ideas
- Navy blue, black and other dark hues: soothing and meditative
Bask in the Beauty of Nature
The sights and sounds (and even smells) of nature should be found all around the office: flowing water with crystals and rocks, images of beautiful landscapes, stress-relieving oils such as frankincense or lavender, and air-purifying plants.
“Choose from such plants as areca palm, Boston fern, peace lily, dracaena and golden pothos,” Tchi says.
And if you can, install large windows to let in plenty of natural light. Alternatively, get lightbulbs that mimic the effect. Just try to avoid fluorescent lighting.
“Fluorescent lights sap energy and leave people feeling drained and unproductive,” Cantley says.
Bring Along Your Furry Friends
If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that allows pets at work, bring them into the office. They’re a great source of energy and happiness, Cantley says. “You can strategically position dog beds where you want to bring more energy, such as the front door.”
Cultivate the elements of feng shui to make your office a welcoming space that promotes good work. This approach is also likely to reduce your employees’ stress and frustration, and that makes work a place they’ll want to be.