The office cubicle is probably among the most difficult spaces to Feng Shui. Considering that many people spend eight hours a day in this tiny space, it’s also among the most important. Ironically, most cubicle spaces are not set up for success. The drab color of the gray walls, combined with unnatural fluorescent lighting, and the fact that most cubicles are positioned so that your back is to the door – all contribute to the lack of productivity at work. One survey recently stated that, “Employees spend half their days doing nothing.” Good Feng Shui can improve your overall mood, and could ultimately contribute to an increase in productivity, creativity, and eventually – salary.
I’m not an expert on Feng Shui, just yet, but I have been given the opportunity to employ some principles of this ancient system in my office. I’m still working on my own cubicle space, but here, I’ll share some ideas that I’ve gleaned from other writers, as well as my coworkers, over the past few months, on creative ways to Feng Shui your cubicle. Depending on how lenient your boss is, you may or may not be able to implement all of these ideas fully. But once a few small changes start to enhance your productivity, you’ll have some evidence supporting the validity of Feng Shui in the workplace that you can show your boss. Then, maybe he’ll move you out of that cubicle into the windowed office that you’ve had your eye on for a long time.
Position. Try to position your desk so that you can see the door. Having your back to the door increases negative energy, and puts anyone who walks into your office in a commanding position. Facing the door, rather, puts you in a position of control. If it’s not possible to reposition your desk, use a small mirror to deflect any negative energy that walks in.
Light. Many cubicle spaces do not have direct access to a window for natural light. Research shows that natural light improves productivity. Replace fluorescent bulbs with warmer light to improve mood and energy. If this isn’t possible, take short, but frequent breaks and step outside into the sun for a moment or two. Eat lunch outside. Bring a blanket and throw yourself a picnic once a week. A small desk lamp that emits warm light is also helpful.
Plants. Plants are natural air purifiers. Placing one or two on your desk can help clear the air, improving your overall mood and wellness. The color green also promotes mental health, spurring creativity and new ideas.
Speaking of Color… Add some. Blues, purples and reds promote wealth and prosperity. Get some wallpaper to cover the gray color of your cubicle wall, or hang pictures. If your boss won’t let you go crazy all at once, then start small. I bring a large red coffee mug to work with me every day and position it within my peripheral vision.
Water. The term “Feng Shui” literally translates as “wind-water” in English. Water is essential to good Feng Shui and flowing water is best. If possible, get a tabletop fountain. I recently purchased a Cat It Fresh & Clear filtered water fountain for pets. (The small size is perfect for my cubicle space, and it was less expensive than any other tabletop water fountain I could find.) If it’s not possible for you to obtain a source of flowing water, you could get two cups, fill one with water, and pour back and forth for a few minutes every hour. Or at the very least, hang pictures of waterfalls from your cubicle wall.
Clutter. Get rid of it. Don’t fill the overhead shelf space with heavy items like books – these will make you feel a literal downward weight, decreasing your energy level. Store items in the drawers/file cabinets below your desk and hide computer cables and cords.
Scent. Most places won’t allow you to burn candles, but you can use a small, light air freshener instead. My personal recommendation: relaxing smells like ocean or spa-inspired scents.
Comfort. Make yourself at home, but don’t get too comfortable. You do spend eight hours a day in this space, so it’s important to minimize discomfort, but you also don’t want to fall asleep while on the job. I, along with a few of my coworkers, recently purchased a yoga ball to sit on for several hours a day, in place of our chairs. Since doing so, I have noticed improvements in posture, mood, and productivity. Considering that yoga and Feng Shui are both about promoting good balance, it makes sense.
Overall, it’s important to make your cubicle space your own, but don’t go overboard. As I mentioned, you should have an uncluttered space. Too many colors and pictures, or overpowering smells, can become distracting and make you function even less productively.
Selwa is a web content writer for Filters Fast, an online retailer of air filters and water filters. She specializes in topics related to clean air, clean water, environmental sustainability and healthy living. For more information on these topics, visit her company blog, “The Filtered Files.”