Feng Shui In The Home Office: How To Spruce Up Your Personal Workspace For Increased Productivity And Wellbeing
When working from home, trying to strike a balance between overly-comfortable and excessively formal can be tricky. Many people find it difficult to cultivate the right kind of atmosphere and aesthetic – one which, ideally, feels both comfortable and professional.
Generally speaking there a couple of tricks you can use in order to keep your home-working life healthy and productive, such as establishing a routine and getting suited-up every day.
But when it comes to the actual physical space in which you work, there’s a very special kind of method you can utilise in order to make working from home a complete pleasure…
Enter feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”), the Eastern art of harmonising the energy of individuals with their surroundings.
The basic principle behind feng shui is to utilise the arrangement of objects in order to improve the flow of energy through a room/space. The idea is that everything, from the colour of your walls to the shape of your desk, has a subtle effect on the energy of the environment in which they’re situated. According to feng shui wisdom, how we organise our surroundings will have a great impact on how we function within those surroundings.
This of course applies to every corner of our homes, but it can be put to very good use when designing a home office space. So let’s take a look at how we can use the principles of feng shui to enjoy a more harmonious home-working life.
Feng shui: the basics
First of all we need to consider the five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each of these elements is represented by its own colour palette, and every colour, in feng shui, has its own corresponding emotion or meaning (we’ll get to that soon). For now, here are the elements and their representative colours:
Wood: green, brown.
Fire: red, orange, yellow, pink, purple.
Earth: light yellow, light brown, sandy/earth tones.
Metal: white, grey.
Water: black, blue.
Find a dedicated working space
According to feng shui wisdom, working out of your bedroom is bad for prosperity. So with that in mind it’s probably best to steer clear of combining the place where you sleep with the place where you work.
Carving out a space in your home specifically for working also has the added advantage of creating further separation between your personal and professional life.
A room with a view is always favourable, especially if you have a window facing onto a nice garden or wooded area.
The way of colour
So, what do all these colourful elements mean in a practical sense? Well, when decorating your home-office the feng shui way, you need to consider what sort of working vibe you’re trying to achieve.
Do you want your working space to be relaxing and inviting? Opulent and commanding? Colourful and creative? Ultimately, the colours you employ will go a long way in establishing the mood and atmosphere of your working environment. Here’s a breakdown of some colours and what they represent:
Green: family, good health.
Black: career, knowledge.
Red: passion, energy.
Yellow: unity, relationships.
Blue: wisdom, knowledge.
But, ultimately, choosing colours that you enjoy and that make you feel happy and motivated will go a long way to boosting your overall home-working life.
Once you’ve got the colour sorted, it’s time to think about plants. Because no feng shui space is complete without some of the potted green stuff.
Not only are plants great to look at, but it’s also believed that they help to reduce stress and increase creativity. Besides that, it’s just nice to have a few plants around the house. They can bring a lot of colour and vibrance to a space, along with a sense of freshness and openness.
Here are some recommendations for excellent office plants:
A harmonious desk
Now to the centre piece of your working day. The desk. This is one of the most important elements of a home office. Not only is it your area of productivity, but it’s the one piece of furniture that truly separates your home life from your working life.
For this reason it’s essential that you feel not only motivated and energised to work when sitting at your desk, but also that you feel comfortable.
So, what does feng shui have to say about desks? There are three things you need to consider: material, shape, and colour.
Chances are you probably already have a desk. And though it may seem extreme to rush out for a new one in the name of energetic harmony, it’s still worth talking about the stuff they’re made of.
For the most part, our desks are either composed of wood, laminate, glass, or metal. And according to wisdom on the subject, here’s how those materials break down:
Metal represents clarity, precision, and focus. According to Knowfengshui, you should consider using metal “when you need crisp, clear, fresh and dynamic quality of energy in your home or office.” It’s also good for alleviating feelings of frustration and lethargy.
Wood provides energy, nourishment, and growth. It’s all about health and abundance. And don’t forget that wood itself is a source of natural energy.
Glass is clear and clean, but its transparency means that it doesn’t hold energy very well. So it’s recommended, when working with a glass desk, to combine it with lots of tall plants to keep the energy nice and grounded.
Laminate is considered to be somewhat passive in the feng shui sense. So it’s recommended that a laminate desk should be complemented with an abundance of other good energy sources (think clocks, plants, and lots of colours).
According to feng shui expert Ken Lauher, kidney-shaped desks are the ultimate when it comes to workspace harmony. Soft, relaxing, and comfortable.
Another good choice, however, (and much more practical for smaller spaces) is the classic rectangular desk. These desks are easier to come by, often cheaper, and, according to Luher, offer a sense of stability.
Luher also recommends staying clear of L-shaped desks where possible. These are, in his opinion, the worst of the bunch.
A slightly different context to the colours mentioned earlier. When it comes to desks, the colour palette has a whole new meaning. So here’s a quick rundown of the three most common desk colours and what they stand for:
Brown: comfortable and nourishing.
Black: open-minded, introspective, strong focus.
White: clarity and discipline.
For many people, part of the drive behind incorporating the principles of feng shui into their home office spaces is to increase their productivity, creativity, and wellbeing (and also just to make their rooms look nice).
So it makes sense that the decor of any home office should be carefully selected. The key here is to choose furniture, artwork, colours, and memorabilia that make you feel inspired, happy, and successful. Objects with sentimental value are a great choice.
Also remember that, although this is your office space, it’s still a part of your home, which means that you have a lot of creative freedom. So don’t be afraid to put it to good use. It’s an opportunity to creating your ideal working environment. Just be sure to keep it clean and minimal!
Air circulation is important in any indoor environment, especially an office space where you’re likely to spend a good majority of your day.
When it’s sunny and warm just open a window or two, or during the winter you can install an air purifier in the room.
The important thing is to make sure that a constant flow of fresh air is circulating in the room. It sounds obvious, but it can work wonders for your overall wellbeing and productivity.
A clutter-free environment
There’s lots of wisdom out there on the benefits of clutter-free spaces. Whether it’s a bedroom, kitchen, or office, keeping things tidy goes a long way towards creating an inviting and aesthetically-pleasing atmosphere.
Daily rituals are such an important yet under-appreciated element of a successful home-working life.
To engage with feng shui in the workspace is to strive to bring balance and success to your professional life. So why not honour that desire with some rituals that help to clarify your goals?
A simple morning ritual that doesn’t take too much time is to write down five things that you’d like to accomplish that day. Then, in the evening, write down one or two achievements from the day. This will help to keep track of your progress, but can also serve as a reminder to congratulate yourself at the end of each day for your accomplishments.
The benefits of a nice workspace
Ultimately, feng shui is a broad and sprawling subject the principles of which can’t really be encapsulated in a single blog post. But, though we may not be experts, one thing feng shui can certainly teach us is the importance of a clean, welcoming, and inviting workspace.
It’s no secret that a cluttered room makes for a cluttered mind. And by applying even just a few of the techniques offered by feng shui, we stand to make our home-working lives much more pleasant and enjoyable, which must be worth something!
So, whether it’s a few extra plants or a full home-office redesign, bring some harmony to your work space with a bit of feng shui!