To get started with laying out your desk, a bagua map is recommended. A bagua map is an ancient instrument used in feng shui developed to help bring overall good Chi energy. When applied to an area, each section aligns with a different aspiration like your career, wisdom, family, etc. Some also have colors and elements associated with them. A good place to apply your bagua map for office feng shui is on your desk or workspace. The chart below will help give you an idea of how to break up your desk using a bagua map.
"A lot of people see white as a neutral, but in Feng Shui it's often perceived as very sharp," says Frampton. "If I'm looking for the fresh crispness of a white, I'll go with a darker white or very light gray instead," she explains, and suggests Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. "It's a super-soft gray that can read as the right kind of white. We use that one all the time."
A cubicle is a much trickier Feng Shui situation than an office room. Cubicles are unfortunate paradigms of vulnerability for the individual worker. One of the chief problems is that you don’t use a real desk but work from a countertop, unless you work in one of the large manager type cubicles. However, you can do plenty to improve your situation. By judiciously applying Feng Shui cures, you may find yourself in your own office sooner than you imagined. (See Figure 1 for cure placements.)
I suggest sitting in a chair, in each of the positions you mention, and seeing where you feel most “in charge” of your space. Without seeing the situation, I am imagining that the Command Position/window setup might be best, as you should be able to block the bottom half of the window so that your Chi energy doesn’t flow out the window. But your own sense of safety and power are what count the most.
1. Do your best not to overwhelm your home and office with too many plants. Looking to the five element theory of feng shui, we are always establishing a harmonious connection with all the elements. If you have too many plants, this could produce the opposite effect of ‘growing’ and stagnant the energy flow. In regard to how a person could react to that energy they may feel; sluggish, impatient, slow and inflexible.
According to Feng Shui, desk size, material, and color all play a vital role in business results. For peak performance, the desk should be large enough to provide a comfortable work area but it shouldn’t stand out from the rest of the furniture. An adequately-sized desk symbolizes control and authority, but make sure it’s not too huge: if you can’t reach the corners, it means that your career is out of control.
1. Center of the House. The center area of your home belongs to the Earth element. Because Wood has the ability to weaken the Earth element, the center of your house is not the best place for indoor plants. This is not to say that placing plants there is completely out of the question. If you feel like the area can use some plants, place small ones instead of large ones.
The Chinese people consider that you can attract luck and prosperity in your career by using money, just not any kind of money, but I-Ching coins. These are round coins, with a square cut out in the center, linked together with a red silk thread. These tiny coins can be carried in the wallet, or connected to the phone, after the latest fashion trend. The most important thing is to carry them with you, especially if you work in retail or sales, to bring you luck.
The image to the left is a good example of a balanced environment. It has characteristics of all five feng shui elements. The wood element can be seen in the soaring vertical window treatments. The earth element is represented by the horizontal, rectangular furniture as well as the earthy colors and pottery. The fire element is brought in through the natural and artificial lighting and the antler base of the lamp. Finally, the water element can be seen in the mirror and asymmetrical shapes.
Create an organization system that works. You need to establish a personal work-style so that you can maintain a clutter-free, organized office. Keep everything that you use daily within arms reach. You shouldn’t have to get up from your desk to perform daily tasks. You should also deal with paper work at least once a week. It won’t be nearly as overwhelming if you do your filing, pay bills, open mail, etc. consistently.
find your flow. when it comes to career energy, moving water represents prosperity, abundance, and steady flow. you can bring this in with actual water – fresh flowers (change the water regularly), a fountain, or a coffee maker – or imagery of moving water. do yourself a solid, though, and make sure the WATER moves into your space. if the water “flows” toward the door, so will all that potential do(ugh) ray me.
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The interesting thing about feng shui and plants is that science tends to agree – plants are a wonderful choice for a home or office. They not only bring more oxygen into the room but some plants can even help filter out harmful toxins and purify the air. In fact, NASA undertook an entire study on this topic in 1989, with some very interesting findings.6
The jade plant, also known as the Asian money tree, is considered as the ultimate plant symbol for prosperity in many Asian cultures. It is frequently grown as a bonsai in Asian homes, business places, and gardens due to its ability to grow into a beautifully lush bonsai tree. If you have ever seen a decorative artificial plant with leads shaped from jade, this plant was likely the model. The jade plant features ovoid- or coin-shaped succulent leaves the color of jadeite, which is how it earned its name.
Cerrano also reminds us to think of function above all when planning your home office space. "Remember to take into consideration the function of the office, and become decisive with the type and amount of furniture that is needed. This will save you time, money, and reduce stress," she says. "Invest in a supportive office chair, especially if you plan on sitting for several hours in a day. Experts say moving more during the workday and stretching is the best solution."
"Once you have a clearer vision for the function of your office and understand what pieces of furniture you need, you can establish the arrangement of furniture," says Cerrano. She recommends starting with the desk position and building outward from there. "Essentially, you are looking for the best commanding position, which allows the occupant to literally, energetically, and metaphorically see and feel who and what opportunities are approaching their life. Positioning your desk inside any office could symbolize avoiding collaborations with unbeneficial business partners and signing contracts or agreements that are one-sided."
The other type of good office plants feng shui are money plants. In Feng Shui, these plants will bring prosperity and positive chi into the spaces where they are placed. An example of a money plant is this lovely Sansevieria in a delta planter. These plants are thought to bring prosperity because of the association between the color green and prosperity.
Separating unfinished tasks from completed projects will help you gain control over workflow and improve your work focus and organization, and you can use different colored folders to classify files by date, status, or category. Once you’ve sorted out paperwork, put away the folders that can wait and concentrate on the files which need to be completed without delay.
Many feng shui experts don’t suggest plants for the bedroom, however. This is because they believe the plant’s energy is far too high for a restful night’s sleep. However, if you already have a plant in your bedroom, and you sleep soundly, don’t panic. Some of the more modern schools of feng shui believe that “woodsy” elements can actually help some people flourish.5
Plants may be just one element of Feng Shui; however, they can play a major role in office environments. Plants can buffer noise in an office increasing the amount of privacy felt in open floor plans. Plants, in general are known to make people happy and more creative, although this might be intangible, the extra added health benefits of having plants in an office are not. Plants increase oxygenation and filter out impurities in the air reducing the amount of bacteria and germs that are usually present in any shared environment. Therefore, office spaces with plants statistically have fewer employees that need to take sick leave. See here for 10 peaceful plants for Feng Shui.
As a rule of (green!) thumb, in feng shui we generally prefer plants with soft and rounded leaves. This shape offers a softer and gentler energy. Plants with sharp leaves, thorns, or spiky needles are best avoided for feng shui applications. That said, there are absolutely situations that they may be appropriate for. And if you already have such plants in your home this does not mean you need to remove them. For example, maybe you have a great attachment to a cactus that you received from your grandmother years ago. But in general if you want to add a plant into your home with a feng shui intention, go for something less prickly.
A reminder, please be mindful of the plant’s health. If it’s not doing so well, do your best to revive it. People often overwater. To avoid this scenario, I suggest you use your finger and feel how moist the soil is. Just poke it in the top about 1-2 inches. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Houseplants also add natural beauty to your home, offer positive wood energy, and improve your air quality.
Symbolic for good luck and success due to their innate resilience, strength, and ability to grow quickly, the lucky bamboo plants attempt to balance the five natural feng shui elements in the home or office: wood, metal, earth, water, and fire. These five elements are represented, respectively, by the plant, glass vase or coin, rocks, water, and red ribbon. Lucky bamboo plants can be planted as stalks or grown into beautiful shapes such as pyramids.
Imagine the desktop divided into a nine-part grid, as in the bagua map shown above. Choose several areas of your life that could use a little boost, and use the following tips to attract good energy to those areas. Each section is associated with a color, and you can use objects of that color if you have them. Just don’t go overboard—remember, clutter blocks creativity, so at least 50 percent of the desktop should be clear at all times. Don’t focus on all nine sections; instead, select two to three priorities.
Feng shui can be applied to any type of work environment, even a cubicle. The same principles apply every time, and using a bagua is a great way to focus on areas that need improvement with the help of colors and elements. Once you have established a work environment that allows you to sit down and focus on your work and enjoy every minute of it, you can then begin expanding feng shui techniques into other areas of your life. For example, to ignite your love life or improve an existing romantic relationship, you can take a course on feng shui specifically for love. Or you can learn how to use feng shui in your home to promote peace, health, and joy within your family. Just have fun and maintain balance to reap the most benefits from this ancient system.
Never ever sit with your back to the door. This is a big feng shui don't. The reason is you can't see what's coming up behind you. You could become the victim of office politics and backstabbing. If the configuration of your office is a cubicle and not something you can control, then place a mirror on your desk so it reflects what's directly behind you. This way you won't be startled or blindsighted by unexpected business turns.