6 Tips to Create Office Feng Shui for Open Work Spaces
Office Feng Shui for Open Work Spaces
Discarded candy wrappers billow over yellow steno pads strewn across the desk, covered with scribbled appointment dates and phone messages. Fluorescent lights beam down across the room, causing objects to cast harsh shadows on a jungle of tangled wires setting up camp in the center of our pod. While constantly being interrupted by bursts of goat-like laughter from the room next door, it’s challenging to manage a productive day in our zoo of an open work space.
Luckily, for the sake of my ever growing to-do list, there are several quick and easy ways to create a more positive, welcoming, and organized area for our company’s team of busy bees who share an open work space.
I’m no expert in the ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui (arranging furniture and objects within a designated space in a way that creates harmony, balanced energy, and an escape from the colleague who insists on creating figurines out of his leftover Freebirds foil), so I won’t attempt to delve into its intricacies. However, there are a few Feng Shui basics that anyone can grasp.
Face the Door
If possible, position your desk across from a door or entrance. This is the “power position” in office feng shui, granting you authority over the room and the position to accept opportunities as they enter through the door.
If it isn’t possible to face the door, try to snag a window seat instead. If utilizing a co-working space, it’s worth it to come in a few minutes early to grab a door or window seat, no matter how much you hate being the first one in and, thus, having to make the coffee. If you can’t grab a desk in that position, try to avoid having your back to the door.
Bring the Water to Your Office
Studies show being near open water makes us feel more at peace, but not all of us have the opportunity to stroll along the beach or lounge beside a brook when we’re having a stressful day. Consider bringing the water to you by investing in an indoor waterfall, hanging water imagery, or even playing ocean sounds to create a calming atmosphere.
Listen to Soothing Music
While jamming to the latest Nicki Minaj hit is a pastime of mine, I’ve learned to save the top 40 countdown for the drive home to increase my productivity and peace of mind at work. It’s not news that certain types of music make us focus more than others.
There are countless free and accessible music resources to tap into for lyric-less, tranquil, atmospheric tunes, including several Zen stations on Pandora, rain sound playlists on Spotify, and ambient themed soundtracks such as Drive, The Social Network, or Fight Club.
De-Clutter Your Desk(top)
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m amazed how quickly my desk morphs from a clean slate to a cluttered landfill in the matter of one business day. Between trying to meet deadlines while making 45-minute phone calls, enduring coffee spills, and colleagues leaving behind their to-go cups, there seems to be no time throughout the week to worry about how things look.
But it’s important to make time to worry about the mess and decrease the stress. Take five minutes at the end of each day to tidy things up. Rinse those stained cups, dust off the picture frames, and take home all of your empty tupperware, leaving your desk organized and ready to tackle obstacles the next morning.
Take the opportunity to clean up your computer desktop as well. Go through the documents that have become their own background and trash what you don’t need. There’s nothing more gratifying that the sound of unneeded photos and documents making their way to the trash can.
If you want to take it a step further, check out various desk feng shui maps to learn how to arrange objects in the most optimal way to generate positive energy in your open work space.
Clean the Air and Brighten Your Desk with a Plant
There are many benefits to growing plants or keeping flowers in the office, including decreasing stress, creating positive attitudes, and, of course, looking pretty!
You don’t need to have a green thumb to keep a plant happy and healthy at the office. There’s a wide variety of easy-going, low maintenance plants that will survive even the most neglectful of caretakers, including cacti, succulents, and philodendron.
Divvy up plant maintenance duties (for those who want to participate) to make this endeavor an opportunity for you and your colleagues to bond over something other than a business milestone or an upcoming holiday.
Check out your local farmer’s market or greenhouse to learn more about the best plants to nurture in an office, or stop to collect wild flowers on your way into the office tomorrow morning.
Shake Things Up
The most beneficial step in creating harmony in your allotted space in an open work environment is to explore your options and find the best setup for you. What might work perfectly for your neighbor could totally harsh your own zen. There’s no harm in switching things up daily or weekly until you find the most suitable arrangement for your work needs.
If there’s one perfect position in your open workspace, talk to your colleagues about creating a schedule that allows each person to use that space on rotation, so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy it at some point.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, or grossed out in an office filled with gross tech dudes, try out these tips for creating feng shui for open work spaces to balance things out and get back on a productive track.