Image Source: About Feng Shui
The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui has avid followers as well as skeptics but is becoming increasingly popular by office management as a means of boosting productivity.
Frustrated by absenteeism and low motivation by workers, office managers and human resource departments are looking to feng shui to provide a more stimulating place for their staff to work more effectively.
It is based on the Taoist vision of being at one with nature and accepting that the world is filled with constantly moving energy, or ‘Chi.’
Can Workplace Feng Shui Increase Productivity?
Feng shui examines the placement of objects and how they affect those in the room. According to its principles, the energy created by the objects and people in a room affects actions and thoughts either negatively or positively. If the energy created is negative, it can be detrimental to success.
Gabor Mate, author of the book When the Body Says No, says that unnoticed stress is the most damaging. A less cluttered work space can reduce stress and improve focus.
Dawn Gibbins, co-founder of The Barefood Foundation has studied and used feng shui for 12 years.
“Feng shui is all about how we interact with our environment, about creating a conducive energy flow and surrounding yourself with beauty to make you feel good. In business, that can be translated into clutter cleaning – a corporate detox – which clears work space and generates a feel-good factor,” she says.
Clutter in the workplace stops energy from flowing and can bring down personal energy levels, leaving workers feeling flat or depressed.
Aside from clutter, the right amount of light, the colours in the surroundings and placement of furniture can all impact people in a negative or positive way. If these elements are organised to make the worker feel better, they will no doubt work more effectively.
Feng shui can increase the wealth and income of companies in simple ways. Increased revenue can be created by establishing a more comfortable work environment which increases productivity and reduces turn-over and absenteeism, saving the company both time and money.
How to Bring Feng Shui to the Workplace
Organise work spaces and clear clutter – Keep desks tidy, deal with paperwork on a daily basis so it doesn’t pile up, keep bookshelves free from clutter.
Position the desk is in the optimal position for energy flow – Make sure the desk is in the ‘power’ position. Generally, this position means backing onto a solid wall and having a view of the door without facing it directly. Workers should be able to see as much of the room as possible and energy should be able to flow freely in and out of the doorway.
Use appropriate artwork and images – The proper objects and images can inspire creativity, while plants and flowers can replicate the calm feeling of being in nature.
Harmonise and balance the space – Feng shui represents nature, including wood, earth, metal, fire and water, and having all five elements present can be beneficial. Candles, fountains, sculptures, or miniature sand gardens are all suitable for the workplace.
Choose appropriate feng shui colours for the office – Sandstone, soft yellow, pale gold, pale green and blue-green are appropriate colours for the workplace. Greens reflect nature, harmony, growth and prosperity while blues represent the ocean, serenity, imagination and a feeling of calm. Adding white will increase mental focus, clarity and freshness while browns and earth tones will ground and stabilise the office space.
Incorporate stress relievers – Harsh lighting should be avoided and natural light used when possible. Music, running water or candles can promote relaxation and decrease stress.
Over one million Australians work from home. The same principles apply to home offices as regular offices, though the home office should be completely separated from the personal life.
Many people remain skeptical of feng shui’s powers to increase happiness or boost productivity at work, but even skeptics have admitted to seeing results.
“I don’t have to believe in feng shui. I do it because it makes me money,” said Donald Trump
Several multinational companies have feng shui consultants to help them transform unproductive offices into spaces filled with positive energy and happy workers. Coca Cola, Citibank, Cathay Pacific, Ford Motors, Panasonic, Shell, Sony, The Trump World Tower and CBS Studios have all incorporated the principles of feng shui into their office designs.
According to 2007 data from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, work-related stress was the root cause of 50 per cent of absenteeism. This costs the EU an estimated 20 billion euros a year in direct health costs and lost work-time.
Architect and feng shui master Simona F. Mainini suggests if corporations invested between one and five per cent of this amount in preventive measures using feng shui, 20 to 50 per cent of these costs could be eliminated. The simple act of creating a stress-free work zone is rapidly catching on in businesses across the globe as they delve into an age-old tradition to increase office productivity.