Many of us spend a good chunk of each day sitting at our desks, whether in a home office or a cubicle. The way your workspace is designed can have a huge impact on productivity, either helping you stay focused and motivated or providing distractions and interruptions. Applying the principles of feng shui to your office is one way to foster a calm, productive work environment and create positive energy that carries over into the rest of your life, too.
By addressing the energy, or chi, in your office, the ancient Chinese art encourages "better focus, more success, and improved overall workflow," says Leslie Close, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and feng shui expert. Feng shui provides guidelines for a room's layout, decor, color scheme, and other elements that can help promote a positive vibe. "The energy in your office, whether at home or at work, affects how you feel in the space," Close says, "and how you feel affects your productivity and the quality of your work." Use these tips to apply feng shui to your office for a happier, more balanced work life.
1. Clear away office clutter.
A tidy, clutter-free workspace will help you focus on the task at hand rather than the mess around you. Clear out any unnecessary items from your workspace, such as old paperwork, excess office supplies, and other miscellaneous objects. This applies to unseen messes, too. "Don't forget to clear the clutter in your drawers and on your computer," Close says. "Just because it's not on your desktop doesn't mean it's not important to shaping the energy of the room."
2. Opt for a feng shui office layout.
The key to a feng shui office layout is placing your desk in the command position. When sitting at your desk, you should be able to see the door without being directly in line with it. "You want to be able to see what is coming your way," Close explains. The ideal desk placement is in the center of the room, which allows energy to flow all around you, but if that's not feasible, at least ensure your back is not facing the door.
3. Incorporate nature into your office.
"Nature reminds us to step back, breathe, and flow—to stay focused, without being stressed and intense," Close says. Introduce the calming effects of nature into your office with plants or images of natural scenes. In particular, Close suggests decorating with mountain artwork. "Hang a picture of the mountains behind you because the mountain energy brings support and helps keep you grounded," she says. A window with a view can also help keep you inspired throughout the day.
4. Avoid fire elements.
Feng shui uses the elements of earth, metal, water, wood, and fire to achieve balance in a home. Each element brings a certain type of energy to a room and can be represented by various materials, colors, or objects. For an office, Close recommends steering clear of fire, as it "can burn the energy away and bring tension." Avoid lighting candles in your workspace or decorating with red colors, which can introduce "turmoil and chaos" to your work life, she says.
5. Bring in water and metal elements.
Water and metal, on the other hand, are much better suited for a feng shui office. Often considered a symbol of abundance, water can bring calm and flow to your workspace, while metal promotes sharpness and precision. Close recommends outfitting your desktop with a miniature fountain, a small metal sculpture, or other decorative objects that symbolize these elements. You can also evoke water and metal by decorating your office with shades of blue, gray, and white.