Office Feng Shui: 7 Dos & Taboos

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Whether you're one of many workers in a row of cubicles or the CEO with the sweet corner digs, your office is the place where you are expected to create, inspire, come up with ideas and do your best work.

But if you're spending more time in your office managing stress and frustration than you are doing your job, it could be time to inject a little feng shui into your day.

Feng shui, an ancient art and science developed in China more than 3,000 years ago, focuses on creating a harmonious environment using the principles of natural energy flow.

As Asian culture has become more popular in the United States, the principles of feng shui have been used in the home. Now people are also using them in the office to boost creativity, increase energy and productivity, and promote feelings of overall well-being.

Using the easy tips in this article, you can fix the feng shui in your office in just a few simple steps.

Do have clean, uncluttered workspaces and surfaces. Organize your office so everything has a place to be stored and can be stowed out of sight when not in use. Remove knick-knacks and other detritus. Having too many things placed on your work surfaces can impede the flow of chi, or energy.

Don't be distracted by unfinished, future or past work projects by storing them where they can be seen. Focus on the task at hand and eliminate distractions by storing unfinished, future, or past work in a separate storage area.

Do place your desk on a diagonal facing the doorway or directly facing it. If you have two desks, place them on opposite diagonals facing the doorway. If you have more than two desks, the remainder should be placed on diagonals facing the interior of the room.

Don't turn your back on business. Never place your desk so you are sitting with your back to the door. To ensure good flow of energy, multiple desks should never be placed in a row or back-to-back.

Do pay attention to lighting. Use at least three levels of lighting in your office---low, medium, and high---and if possible, ask for full-spectrum lighting to be installed in place of harsh fluorescent lighting. In addition to overhead lighting, make sure you have floor and table lamps.

Don't accept poor air quality. Remember that interior pollution can be just as bad as exterior pollution. If you have windows that can be opened, do so. Buy some air purifying plants and place them in the corners of your office. Create an energized, vibrant atmosphere by using an aromatherapy device to diffuse essential oils such as orange, peppermint and eucalyptus.

Do use color to shift the energy in your space. To create a space that exudes energy, try using "fire" colors---red, orange, purple, pink, or bright yellow---in the southern corner of your office. If you aren't allowed to paint your walls, put vibrant artwork in these corners instead.

Don't place your desk so you are sitting in line with the door. That will increase your exposure to negative energy.

Do use all five feng shui elements to create balance and harmony. Wood promotes creativity, and should be placed in the eastern corner of your office. Fire (a lamp or a candle will do), promotes passion and productivity, and should be placed in the southern corner. Earth elements, such as items made of clay or ceramics, create balance and stability when placed in the center of your office, while metal items, which indicate financial success, should be placed in the western corner. Water elements increase communication, learning and opportunity, and should be placed in the northern corner.

Don't put mirrors in your office. Mirrors reflect bad energy coming from outside your office, or from negative clients, customers and other people who enter the room.

Do sit with a wall or solid partition behind your back, to symbolize you have the support you need to be successful.

Don't sit with a window behind you. If you want natural light to fall on your desk, place your desk so the light from the window hits your desk sideways, or at an angle.

Do invite positive energy, people and opportunities into your space with a welcoming and attractive doorway. Keep the entrance uncluttered on both sides, use subtle lighting---such as fairy lights---on the interior and exterior of the entry to lift energy, and introduce a splash of red to promote your reputation and instill trust in those who enter your office.

Don't feel vulnerable with solid glass doors or walls. If your office leaves you exposed with solid glass partitions, hang mini-blinds to cover the glassed area and provide protection.

Are these tips going to help get you a promotion or magically make your troubles melt away? No. But creating a more pleasant work environment could help with your own happiness, and possibly improve the moods of co-workers. And the little things can often make the biggest differences.

Don't let your office get the most of you. Instead, get the most out of your office. Arrange your office according to the principles of feng shui, and watch your energy and productivity increase.

Recommended Reading (try an ebook)

Office Feng Shui: Creating Harmony in Your Work Space

Feng Shui Quick Guide for Home and Office: Secrets for Attracting Wealth, Harmony and Love

The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Creating Balance, Harmony and Prosperity in Your Environment

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui

Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect and Happiness

Feng Shui Goes to the Office: How to Thrive From 9 to 5

Feng Shui Tips for a Better Life

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