How To Feng Shui Your Work Space

Posted September 13, 2013, by Julia Watters

I recently got a desk plant. It’s more of a shrub actually. Okay, it’s a tiny succulent but it still makes my desk 70 per cent greener than it was previously (my mini golf pen set complete with felt fairway makes up the other 30 per cent).

Apart from the time spent potting it (and uploading a photo of it onto Instagram), I actually feel like it’s boosted my productivity. One might argue that the opposite could have occurred given that I’m usually very easily distrac… squirrel?

Nevertheless, it makes me smile and as our good friend Aristotle once said, ‘pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work’. Now I’m not saying that the purchase of desk flora will instantly make you better at your job, but it does beg the question of how your workspace affects your work.

I used to have a job that required me to process a lot of paperwork. So much so that my desk began to look more like the scraps bin at the Reflex factory than an actual workspace. The only thing that environment produced was dirty looks from the office’s WHS officer.

Now my desk is mostly white space. Literally. I have small clusters of sporadically placed items but it’s by far the most visible desk I’ve ever had in a job. According to feng shui experts, clearing out clutter is the first step to enlightenment – go me! It’s something I’ve already experienced with my new uncharacteristically clean work surface. So how can you feng shui your work space?

1. Desk position: make sure you can see the door!

Feng shui principles state that you should be able to see the door from your desk. Despite an ill-placed wall in our office, I still have some visibility of the entrance. At least I’m not facing away from it, which seems to be the most important positioning faux pas. By seeing people coming and going you will gain authority through your ‘commanding view’. Feng shui also recommends you have a window with a ‘pleasant’ view from your desk. Check.

2. Desk colour: green's a winner

My desk is white, which apparently energises the mind but drains the body. Given I rely on my brain more than my body to get me through the workday, I can definitely live with that. Another colour (well, technically a tone) said to focus the brain, but not the body, is grey. You will get the opposite effect with brown, and bright colours will make you restless. Green, however, balances the mind and body. Well-played, desk succulent.

3. Desk shape: go rectangular for concentration, circular for creativity

The rectangular shape of my desk is said to be good for concentration – clearly a positive for me. Circular desks assist brainstorming and creativity, a closed front will establish boundaries and an open front feels more intimate – perhaps a little too intimate when I occasionally stretch my legs out and accidentally play footsies with my colleague whose desk faces mine.

4. Map out your zones using 'bagua'

Feng shui bagua is the energy map of your space, relating specific areas to different areas of your life. When it comes to your bureau, it can be broken down into the following:

  • Wealth – money doesn’t grow on trees but feng shui bagua states that a plant in the back left corner of your desk is close enough. Excuse me a second while I do some re-positioning.
  • Family – the middle left section of your desk should be the home of any family images. I wonder if a thumbnail in the middle left section of my computer screen will satisfy the bagua powers that be?
  • Knowledge – all books or similar should be positioned in the front left corner of your desk. I have a piece of paper with some scribbles on it … is that close enough?
  • Creativity – any funky notebooks or colourful post-its belong in the middle right section of your desk to help release those imagination hounds. Given this is the home of my pen golf set, I should be expecting some eureka moments any time now.

There are plenty of ways to align your occupation chi, so try these feng shui tips to get the most out of your workspace.

Looking for other ways to improve your workflow? Here are our top tips for effective time management!

Julia Watters

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