The Art of Business: Living and Working the Feng Shui Way

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By now you've probably heard something about feng shui, the Chinese system of arranging space to improve the flow of vital energy in a work or home environment.

Practitioners say when implemented correctly, feng shui (pronounced "fung-shway") can help reduce stress and anger, enhance productivity and creativity, and promote harmony among workers.

Does it work? Is it for you? For what it's worth feng shui is in use at such firms as Donald Trump, Orange, The Body Shop, Swiss Stock Exchange, and Esprit, according to Rodicka Tchi, MSc, a Feng Shui consultant and teacher.

And even if you're a bit skeptical, think of this way: feng shui is not unlike graphic design; at worst, it's simply another aesthetic model on which to draw; at best, it can improve your effectiveness.

Go with the Flow
Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 5,000 years ago in China. It is a body of knowledge that purports to reveal the ways to balance an environment to assure health, wealth, and good fortune, according to Tchi.

"Literally, feng means 'wind' and shui means 'water.' In Chinese culture gentle wind and clear water have always been associated with good harvest and good health, thus 'good feng shui' came to mean good livelihood and fortune, while 'bad feng shui' came to mean hardship and misfortune," said Tchi.

One of feng shui's primary concerns is with the flow of energy in a space. How much vital energy, or chi, does your workplace have? How vibrant, attractive, and healthy is your space? Is there enough oxygen and sunlight? Are there hidden health threats, like electromagnetic pollution or mold?

You can hire a feng shui consultant to help you redesign your department or office, or you can begin today by following a few simple principles. according to Tchi:

In Your Office:

  • Allow yourself and employees to personalize the workplace by giving them freedom of expression in their work area.
  • Introduce water features, plants, and vibrant artwork to stimulate the senses.
  • Install full-spectrum lighting instead of fluorescent lights.
  • Avoid having sharp angles point at people as these angles create attacking energy. Spike-leaved plants may also appear sharp and knife-like. Keep things soft and round.
  • Deal with unused space by filling it. Empty desks or cubicles send the message that your company doesn't have enough business. If you divvy up the unused space to remaining employees , your message to workers is "business is so good, now we can afford some luxuries, like a more spacious environment." If you're a solo proprietor, create work areas for different tasks: mailing, proofing, computer, creative work;
  • Pay attention to your environment's sensory experience, particularly smells. Create a welcoming environment eliminating stagnant or musty odors and replacing them with pleasing food smells, such as coffee or cinnamon or the aroma of energizing essential oils.

Around you personal workspace:

  • Sit in the corner farthest from the entrance to the room so that you're in the "command" position.
  • Avoid sitting in direct line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energy.
  • Keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or wall, correct it by covering it with a hanging plant's draping foliage.
  • Arrange your workspace so that you are not looking straight into a corridor or seeing the stairs, storage rooms, closets, elevators, escalators, or toilets.
  • If possible, put your computer in the North or West area of your office to enhance your creativity.
  • Try to balance your workspace with both soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of window treatments, furniture, and flooring.
  • Keep your office files neat. They represent your past, present, and future business.
  • Keep the cords to your office equipment well hidden, to eliminate clutter allows for the free flow of chi.

Put on a Happy Face
Even if you don't buy into all of the concepts of feng shui, it's hard to argue with the underlying motivation: creating an environment where people are happy to come to work and reluctant to leave.

If you're interested in learning more, here are a few titles worth exploring:

Online, you'll find a ton of information at these sites:

Read more by Eric J. Adams.

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