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There are lots of ways to make your work environment more inviting and productive. But have you considered feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art that involves creating a space that’s harmonious with the environment. It literally means “wind” (feng) and “water” (shui).

With feng shui, objects in a room are arranged according to the flow of natural energy. The concept also involves using colors, materials, and the layout of a space to create a favorable ambiance.

The practice originated in China more than 3,000 years ago and has been embraced in Asian-Pacific places like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. In recent years, the feng shui philosophy has become increasingly popular in Western countries as well.

Many Asian businesspeople go to great lengths to incorporate feng shui into their corporate environment. In a dated survey, 70 percent of Taiwanese businesses valued feng shui, and each company in the survey spent an average of $27,000 (U.S. dollars) on feng shui consultations, designs, and construction fees.

Read on to learn how to arrange your office according to feng shui.

Whether it’s a home office or an outside workspace, you probably spend a lot of hours in your office. Feng shui proponents believe that employing its principles in your office can bring about productivity and success.

An office that’s inviting, organized, and aesthetically appealing can make work more enjoyable.

While there are anecdotal stories of success as a result of using feng shui, the outcomes of the practice have not been scientifically evaluated.

In feng shui, there are five elements that attract energy and need to be balanced. These include:

  • Wood. This element channels creativity and growth. Trees, plants, or green objects can represent wood.
  • Fire. This is the most powerful element. It creates passion, energy, expansion, boldness, and transformation. Candles or the color red can bring the fire element into a space.
  • Water. This element is linked to emotion and inspiration. Water features or blue items can represent this element.
  • Earth. The earth element signifies stability and strength. Incorporate the earth element with rocks, carpets, old books, or things that are brown or tan in color.
  • Metal. Metal unites all the elements, while offering focus and order. Use objects that are metal or white, silver, or grey in color.

From incorporating specific colors to placing your furniture in the proper spot, there are many ways to bring feng shui to your office. Here are some tips.

Place your desk in the power position

According to feng shui, you should place your desk so that you are sitting in the “power position.” This is the furthest spot from the entrance of the room. Arrange your desk so that you can see the door when seated.

Create a strong backing

You can produce strong feng shui backing by positioning your chair so your back is against a solid wall. If this isn’t possible, try placing a row of lush plants behind your seating area.

Choose the right chair

A comfortable chair with a high backing is ideal for feng shui. It’s believed that a high back creates support and protection.

Introduce water and plant elements

Experts believe incorporating water features and plants into your workspace can creative positive energy. Try placing a fountain with moving water in your office. A live plant can also help improve indoor air quality.

Hang artwork

Surround your office with images and objects that are inspiring, such as pictures with mottos or images that symbolize what you want to accomplish.

Choose the right colors

Feng shui office colors should create balance without being overwhelming. Some popular choices are:

  • soft yellow
  • sandstone
  • pale gold
  • pale orange
  • pale green
  • blue green
  • white

Opt for natural lighting

When possible, use natural light from windows. Yellow-tinted and fluorescent lighting can bring about fatigue. If you must use artificial light, opt for incandescent, full-spectrum light bulbs.

Hire an expert

A professional consultant can help you organize and decorate your office according to the feng shui principles and elements.

The International Feng Shui Guild provides a directory, so you can find a consultant in your area.

You can employ feng shui principles in even the slightest spaces. Some simple ways for bringing feng shui to your cubicle or small area include:

  • Place a plant or fountain near your workspace.
  • Diffuse calming oils to create balance.
  • Keep your desk clutter-free.
  • If your back faces the door or entrance of your cubicle, try placing a mirror at your desk, so you can at least see the entrance.
  • Invest in a good chair.

Some common mistakes can hinder your feng shui office vibe. Here are some tips on what not to do.

No clutter

Eliminate the clutter in all areas of your office. This includes your desk space, the floor, and any bookshelves. Experts believe an organized office can increase efficiency and productivity while providing mental clarity.

Don’t sit back to back or face to face

If you must share your office with another person, avoiding sitting back to back or face to face, as these positions can create conflict. Try staggering your desks or creating a small barrier with a plant or other object to break up the space.

Get rid of sharp angles

Try to avoid furniture or objects with sharp angles. If you have these items in your office, reposition them so that they aren’t facing you while you work.

Don’t get carried away with color

Very bright, vivid colors can be too much for an office. You want colors that are inviting, not overwhelming.

Feng shui is an ancient art that can bring balance, organization, and stability to your office.

Simple steps like placing your furniture in the correct spot, adding specific elements, and incorporating the right colors can help improve the flow of your workspace.