Feng shui for a successful workspace
Whether you want to improve the job you have, find a new role or are in the middle of making a career change, simple feng shui enhancements of your workspace can help. Feng shui adjustments can help invite a bright opportunity your way or make an upcoming transition smooth and more favourable. For best results, consider making just one or two adjustments at a time, then waiting a couple of weeks to see how things shift. If you’re happy with the results, try your next enhancement.
Location, location, location
One of the simplest forms of feng shui is the bagua map system. This divides your space — your office or even your desk — into a square, which is then subdivided into nine smaller squares. For instance, if you consider your desk, you might imagine it marked in a grid pattern, with three rows across and three columns running up and down. These grid lines create nine different squares or sectors, which each describe different areas of your life.
There are three sectors of the bagua map to improve your career. These include the front middle section, which is all about career, as well as the back left corner, which symbolises wealth and prosperity. In addition, the middle of the back row, which describes fame and reputation, is also worth improving.
Improve the chi (energy) in the wealth corner with large plants. Consider a gorgeous flowering plant ... or an image of a lush vase of flowers.
As the career sector is in the middle of the front row in the bagua, it may be that the door to your home or office is in this location (if the door is in the middle of the wall). If so, pay special attention to your entranceway. Keep it tidy, clutter free and brightly lit. Fresh flowers or a welcoming picture can be helpful, too.
In the bagua, the water element is associated with career. Images of water, like an ocean, lake or waterfall, can be auspicious in the middle of the front wall or in the north, as can a water feature such as a fountain.
Water colours support career, so if possible include dark colours such as navy and black, and deep reds like maroon and chocolate brown in your décor in this area of your office or on your desk. If it’s not possible to improve this — or any direction — in your office or on your desk, then do so in your living room at Home.
Wealth may not be your top goal at work but it’s often a welcome side benefit. The back left-hand corner of your office and desk symbolises wealth. In the I Ching, “wealth” is about slow and steady financial growth rather than high-risk or get-rich-quick schemes. Slow and steady accumulation provides lasting stability and can help you provide a solid foundation of abundance.
The colours red, blue and purple can be helpful in the wealth corner. Improve the chi (energy) in this area with large plants. Consider a gorgeous flowering plant for the back left-hand corner of your office, or an image of a lush vase of flowers.
According to feng shui consultant and author Terah Kathryn Collins, other enhancements for your wealth sector include “items that call in chi, like windchimes, flags, windsocks, whirligigs, healthy plants, especially those with shiny, rounded, coin-shaped leaves, fresh or silk flowers and water features”.
Fame & reputation
Your reputation can play a large role in your success at work, so enhancing this bagua sector can help bring rewards and accolades, as well as make it easier for you to impress possible clients or an organisation you’d love to work with. This sector will be in the middle of the back row. If you’re thinking about your home or office as a whole, think about the back wall of the property or your office, and the space in the middle of that. What rooms, gardens or landscaping do you have near or adjacent to this area? In your office, this will be the middle of the back wall, which will be the wall opposite the one the door is on.
A good reputation can lead to friendly and positive interactions in all areas of life and can have a special benefit to your career. When people like you or hear good things about you, it can make you popular or a more valuable asset in your workplace. Red is a positive colour to use in this area and the middle of the back wall (when you look into your office from the door) is the best place to display awards, qualifications or any accolades you have received through your work.
Fire is a helpful element here, so consider images of sunshine or people you admire. Objects that are triangular or pyramid shape are favourable and this would be one sector to keep well lit through any kind of lighting.
Your desk acts like the foundation for your success. Its make, style and quality represent the kind of foundation you’re building for your future. Ideally, your desk will be made of wood and either be new or have a success story behind it. According to Kathryn Weber, who runs Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui, “Wood represents healthy, vibrant growth.” A glass desk can lead to a lack of support or opportunities falling through.
In terms of shape, a rectangular desk is best. Avoid arc-shaped desks as they are considered inauspicious. An L-shaped desk can be OK, especially if you treat each section as a separate piece.
Placement of the desk in your office can be critical. Ideally, your desk will be in the part of the office that’s opposite the door. The corner of the room diagonally opposite the door is considered a lucky location.
The best desk arrangement is one in which your desk is not pushed up against a wall but instead has open space immediately in front of it. This creates the “Great Hall” effect and is considered auspicious. This open space might include two chairs facing your desk. Also ensure the path to your desk is open, inviting and free of any barriers.
What’s behind your desk is also important. Avoid bookshelves or filing cabinets at your back, or at least don’t have them in a direct line with you or your desk. Avoid having a window behind you or your back to the door. Energy — and people — arrive by the door. A powerful position is one that allows you to see who is entering as they arrive, rather than a position in which you could have people sneaking up behind you. A solid wall at your back indicates support.
Energy - and people - arrive by the door. A powerful position is one that allows you to see who is entering as they arrive, rather than a position in which you could have people sneaking up behind you.
Weber also comments on your office chair, saying, “It’s important that you have a quality high-back chair with arms when seated at your desk. The arms represent the tiger and dragon (yin and yang) and will help support you at work.”
Finally, consider what’s on your desk. Do you have piles of owing work or papers that need to be filed? Time to address them! Those piles act as barriers to energy and success and can slow your professional progress.
The centre back area of your desk is especially auspicious and should be kept clear of any clutter as this correlates to the fame and reputation sector. In addition, the centre space is sacred and, unless the computer you work on daily is located there, this area should be kept open and clear.
The back left-hand corner of the desk is particularly auspicious. Enhance this energy with a bright, lush green plant or fresh flowers that you change regularly. This part of your desk taps into the powerful dragon energy.
Activate your office
Many feng shui tenets sound a lot like good housekeeping. A clean and orderly workspace encourages good energy flow, which in turn supports abundance and opportunities. Take a few minutes each day or week to clean, dust and organise your workspace. Ensure files are put away and that your phone and computer are regularly dusted. Keep the bin or recycling box small so you empty them regularly.
Once your office is tidy, you’re ready to activate it. This can involve keeping your workspace well lit, either by opening the blinds or through quality lighting.
Bring life into your workspace through adding a small aquarium, fresh plants or bright flowers. You’ll also want to activate with movement, which you can do through a small fan or by having soothing music playing in the background. I often leave classical music playing when I am out of my office, to keep the energy moving.
A clean and orderly workspace encourages good energy flow, which in turn supports abundance and opportunities. Take a few minutes each day or week to clean, dust and organise your workspace.
Prominently display your qualifications and any awards or trophies you’ve received. Weber suggests displaying your “gushes”, examples of your successes, on the south wall of your office. Enhance the potential for recognition by displaying these in red frames.
Everything in your office should be functional. If you have broken equipment or technology lying around, remove, replace, repair or throw it out. This might mean upgrading an old computer, phone or printer and investing in shelves or filing cabinets as you expand. According to Michael and Robin Mastro in The Way of the Vastu, a generally good location for your filing or storage will be in the “southwest part of your home, your office or any other room”.
Compass directions for success
If you have a compass, you can also energise the most auspicious directions for success. This might include simple enhancements like a lush green plant, fountain or quality silk flowers in the south corner to enhance wealth. If you’re interested in improving recognition the south direction is also important but, instead, use bright lighting like a lamp and triangle shapes such as a pyramid to bring in fire energy.
The north direction is associated with career, so for support in your profession you might include a tortoise object or a big picture of water here. To double the enhancements, you can charge the south and north directions at home. Outside your office, your living room at home is the safest area to make cures for different areas of your life, as special feng shui rules can apply for bedrooms, bathrooms, the laundry and kitchen.
A fountain, which adds moving water energy, can stimulate prosperity, improve creative thinking and help calm your work environment. If possible, place a fountain in the north or northeast.
A poison arrow is the opposite of a lack of energy: it’s a rushing energy that can be overwhelming because it is so strong. One type of poison arrow can come off large furniture, like a bookshelf or filing cabinet, depending on how it’s placed.
Stand in front of the bookshelf or filing cabinet. Imagine a straight line moving forward from here. Walk it if you’re not sure. What does this line cross or point towards? If it’s your desk, you have a poison arrow. Either move your desk or move the offending shelves or storage cabinet. It may be possible to rearrange the furniture, perhaps on an angle, to redirect the energy coming off the furniture so that it by passes your desk.
What you look at can enhance success, too. Weber suggests you “put a picture of water in front of you to stimulate wealth, opportunities to grow your career and advancement”.
On the — hopefully solid — wall behind your desk, display images of mountains, banking or business photographs. If you have a boss, ideally they too are behind you. Either literally, if you share an open-plan office, or perhaps more symbolically in that they are elsewhere in the building but would be behind where you sit. This can show your boss having your back.
Energy flows where the eye goes, so take a moment to assess your space from the entryway looking in. Where does your eye land and are you uplifted, inspired or motivated by what you see? If not, that may be your first area to tweak.
Energy also flows into a space via the main entryway or front door. Entering your office through the main entrance rather than coming up via a back door, carpark or side entrance can enhance career chi. Make this change at home, too, if you usually don’t use your front door. Your actions then align with the main river of chi, which enhances luck and auspicious energy, at work and in life.
“When you save things for the future, it amounts to being distrustful that the universe will provide for you,” write the Mastros. Letting go of clutter is the first step to improving the chi in your office. Once you do that, apply one or more of the tips given above to help enhance prosperity and success.
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