Whether you are setting up a new home office or have an established office, your workspace strongly influences your productivity, creativity and motivation. Feng shui, the 2,300-year-old Chinese art of harmonizing buildings with nature, gives you simple solutions to enhance the energy of your work environment, from merely functional to balanced and inspired.
This is the first of two articles on feng shui. This article will focus on simple things you can do to bring positive energy into your work space. Part II will explain how arranging, adjusting and enhancing your physical space can improve specific areas of your life.
When you work in a low-energy space, you run out of energy. Feng shui enhances the energy of a space, which in turn supports your personal energy. Spaces that are cluttered, poorly lighted, cramped or located in basements lack energy. Spaces with good energy have views of nature, good light, attractive color and personal inspiration. It's simple to energize your home office with feng shui.
Chi is the core concept of feng shui. Chi (pronounced chee) is the "breath of life," a nourishing positive energy. Feng shui seeks to corral environmental chi to support and nourish your personal energy. Chi is equated with luck, opportunity and money. You want to bring this positive energy into your work space. Think of chi energy as a breeze of nature's energy flowing through your office. You want your office door or entry uncluttered to make it easy for chi to enter. Chi flow and people flow mirror each other; if it's easy for you to enter and move around your home office, it will be easy for chi to do the same.
Basements and master bedrooms are feng shui 'don'ts.' Basements are low-energy areas because they are below ground. An office in your bedroom is not good because it violates the boundary between work life and personal life, in the one space in your home dedicated to intimacy and renewal. While you are trying to sleep, your subconscious is telling you to "get back to work." If you do not have a spare room for a home office, improvise with a workspace in a guest room, a corner of the kitchen or a converted closet.
Desk placement strongly affects your focus and efficiency. Feng shui observed over two millennia ago that people feel tense when their back is exposed, such as working with their back to a door. Human beings have been hard-wired for this protective response since our cavemen ancestors were saber-toothed tigers' lunch. Feng shui recommends you position your desk so you can see the door or entry to your office. If that is not possible, then mount a small mirror on your computer monitor so you can glimpse it and avoid being startled by someone approaching from behind. With a mirror positioned to look over your shoulder for you, you'll find that your shoulders will drop an inch. Who knew you were carrying this subconscious tension? When positioning your desk to face the door, it's best to have a solid wall behind you rather than a window. This provides you with support, both spatially and energetically.
Tips to Energize Your Home Office
Chi is energy. Like is attracted to like. Chi is attracted to the energy you add to your home office.
- Nature. The ancient Chinese looked to nature as the source of inspiration and chi energy. Modern environmental psychology has discovered that contact with nature decreases stress and improves health. Bring nature's energy indoors. Place a lush green plant or flowers in your office where you can easily see them from your desk.
- Light. Light is a form of energy. Many home offices are inadequately lighted: a ceiling fixture, recessed lighting, a lone desk lamp. Borrow a design idea from the executive suite. Bring softly diffused light to your work surface with a table lamp with a white or off-white translucent shade. This brings light to your desktop, where you need it, and softens it to prevent eye fatigue. Use an incandescent or "warm white" or "soft white" compact fluorescent light bulb to avoid that cold, institutional look.
- Color. Color is light made visible. There is no one best feng shui color for a home office. Move beyond corporate beige. Use color accents to boost your energy while working in your home office.
- Sound. Sound is energy. Add music to your work environment. Or open a window and hear the sounds of nature: birdsong or the rustle of the wind in the trees.
- Objects that nourish your spirit. Add personal treasures, heirlooms, photos, mementos, tchotchkes or artwork. These are reminders of what you love and why you are working so hard. In your home office you can make this space truly your own. Add things of beauty and mementos that speak to your heart. When you look at something you love or that reminds you of the people, places and events you love the most, you may experience a smile, a deep breath, a warmth inside--this is your own chi rising and expanding.
Place these enhancements around your home office to attract chi to support you and your work life. Feng shui is that simple.
Linda Varone has been a feng shui consultant and professional speaker for more than 18 years. She uses a unique combination of feng shui, interior design and architectural psychology to help her clients and audiences create homes and offices that meet their needs and support their life goals.