Who Moved My Chi?

Office Furniture Feng ShuiLooking to “feng shui” your office? Feng shui helps you become more aware of how your office space and office furniture affects your state of mind. The benefits of the ancient eastern teachings of feng shui are widely known, and are becoming increasingly practiced in western culture, especially trendy office buildings looking to maximize productivity, go green and integrate with nature, and harmonize their overall energies. In our previous office feng shui articles, we discussed:

  • the background of feng shui (part 1)
  • how to better define your company’s chi, or energy, stemming from your brand image (part 2),
  • and how to apply feng shui to the choosing and arranging your office furniture for overall balance and prosperity in the office (part 3).

Now that we have an understanding of the philosophy and structure of feng shui, it’s time to talk about moving your chi, maximizing the flow of your corporate energies. From the corporate standpoint you can think of your chi as connected to:

  • the product and brand that your company sells,
  • the people that sell it and their personality,
  • and the ideas that flow through your company and the overall gestalt mood of the workers in your office.

Employee communication, company morale, team collaboration and individual performance all stand to benefit when your company’s chi moves in the right direction. Here are 10 tips to configure your office and office furniture to maximize and harmonize the flow of chi.

1) Bubble it Up:

What is your source of chi, where your corporate energy makes the most impact, where the center of attention is in your office? Water is said to be an especially good source to stimulate chi and spread throughout the office. Windows, inspirational posters, and other flowing shapes may also not only help attract attention to the more beautiful parts of the office but also relax visitors and employees and instill more thriving, peaceful chi energy. Larger corporations may consider a fountain in the lobby or atrium; desktop waterfalls are also fun and a good idea for your chi. (Be sure to keep it a good distance from your keyboard and computer.)

2) Comfy Curves:

Add some softer, rounded organic shapes to your office to offset the plethora of harsh, geometric shapes that are common in offices — some yin to balance out the yang. Curved edges also make reception desks less confrontational and more inviting. Desktops and desk chairs become more ergonomic and more comfortable with curves, too. As a general rule of thumb, the more curves in your office and office furniture, the more natural (and trendy!) the overall look and feel, and the more comfortable your chi. Plants are a good way to incorporate truly flowing, organic shapes, keep the air fresh, and feel more at one with nature. Plants with sharp leaves like cacti and tea trees are said to ward off or absorb bad chi, too.

3) Clear the Clutter:

Clutter operates on similar principles as positive and negative space. The more clutter the more distraction and overwhelmed feeling of tension. The less clutter, the cleaner and healthier the environment and the more freely your chi energy can move about. The work environment also looks cleaner with less clutter. Consider it to be the cholesterol of the chi bloodstream, and use office furniture to declutter your office. You will be amazed at how much stuff you can make disappear and how organized you can get the place by purchasing monitor arm mounts, phone organizers, storage units, shelves and other office accessories.

4) Mirror Mirror on the Wall:

Feng shui recommends two great interior design ideas to move and balance your chi by using mirrors. First, if you can’t have your desk turned to face the door, use a mirror to see it and to be better prepared when people enter the room. The effect on your chi will be that you will feel less stressed and in greater control of your office environment. Secondly, placing mirrors at the end of short hallways can help extend the perceived space and thus make even narrow hallways feel less claustrophobic. One thing to note when using mirrors: placing a mirror where it reflects clutter or your work may subliminally double your work. However, decluttering your office with the appropriate office furniture should prevent this from happening.

5) Traffic Flow:

One of the most obvious ways to get the energy flowing around your office is to make sure that it’s easy for people to move through it, too. If a piece of office furniture is constantly in your way enroute to the printer, don’t put up with it, move it! For two-way traffic down a hallway, allow 5′ to 7.5′ wide. If your halls or paths are 3′ or less, you’re bound to have bottlenecks and choke points, and it will be difficult for people to squeeze through. For areas that people (especially a large number of people) are going to spend more time in or pay greater attention to, allow for more space to take it all in. For example, for conference rooms, waiting areas, showcase areas, or lobbies, 8′ x 10′ is a minimum. However, if you allow for too much space, your chi may fizzle out and dissipate.

Also, think about the direction of traffic. If visitors tend to stay by the door and barely leave the waiting room, your office may seem less hospitable or even boring. When you give the tour, it may be nice to pass some other rooms before arriving at so-and-so’s office or the showcase area. If you have ever been in a grocery store, IKEA, or Toys “R” Us, you have experienced a carefully laid out interior design to help direct people through the aisles in a predictable manner and to focus their attention on point-of-purchase displays, kiosks, and aisle ends. Consider incorporating the same concepts in your office, but don’t make it a maze.

6) Mix it Up:

Combining office furniture of variable height (tables, coat racks, desks, bookcases, cabinets, etc.) creates visual “rollercoaster” stimuli and also helps excite your chi. The height of your surrounding “horizon” over the furniture in the office determines how far you can see, which also impacts how much control you feel over your environment. If you have cathedral ceilings and don’t want to feel dwarfed, isolated, and vulnerable as you work, consider raising the desks and even getting some bar stool height task chairs.

7) Deeper is Better:

Create an inviting sense of depth by employing two interior design techniques. First, while mixing up the height of different office furniture in the room can stimulate, you can also keep the tabletop or desktop heights uniform and spread them throughout the office to create a greater perspective. It works the same way as rowhouses on a city street or railroad tracks — you know they are all of uniform width or height, so the eye interprets a greater sense of depth as they move into the distance. Second, using the triangulation method, which is basically drawing a triangle with office furniture on the floor (e.g. couch and end tables on sides with coffee table in front) or on the wall (e.g. overhead cabinets above desk). Not only does this spice things up visually, but it also helps to ensure that office furniture is easier to access.

8) The Height Dimension:

Watch your head! Flat, average to lower height ceilings actually work best for helping the flow of chi through the office. If you have higher ceilings, consider getting some taller office furniture (like bookcases) or banners to hang to offset the negative, empty effects.

6) Positive and Negative Space:

The openness or closeness of your office furniture and the actual and visual (perceived) space in your office is an inherent reflection on the mood of working for and working with your company. Closeness may either imply greater collaboration, relaxed personableness, or coziness, but also quite often generates a cramped, claustrophobic feeling of tension. On the other hand, with more open spaces, your workers and clients may feel less trapped, freer to do business with respectful space, freer to move up the ladder. Openness can create a sense of quiet contemplation, but can also be noisy if there are echoes. Too much space, however, can create a psychological sense of vulnerability and smallness.

10) Harmony and Balance:

Much of feng shui teachings revolve around achieving a balance in the surrounding environment. Using symmetry and paying attention to the gestalt, the totality of the room or office area will help give better form to the practical use of your office environment and shape your chi energies in a way that produces an effective and comfortable activity level. Balance can apply to space, shape, colors, motion, symbols and of course, the masculine and feminine.

If you need additional help coordinating your office and office furniture according to the best in feng shui and interior design principles, contact our CubeKing expert office space planners by picking up the phone and calling toll free 1-888-399-7025 or by emailing us at sales@cubeking.com.

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