~ Written by Janine Whittaker Have you ever walked into a space and it just felt off and you couldn't say why? Or perhaps it felt great but wasn't aesthetically pleasing but you just felt comfortable being there? Some may say the space has great "Feng Shui" or Energy when you walk in. Well, that can certainly be an art to create that feeling in the workplace. Ideal office solutions' designer, Janine Whittaker, is also a Feng Shui consultant and has helped many businesses improve the energy in their space through thoughtful office design and is here to help with some of the tips and tricks she uses to make business environments more comfortable:
Proper Office Equipment Positioning
Reception Area- The reception area should feel welcoming and have the desk not directly in line with the entrance. This can lead to too much Chi coming towards the receptionist and thus more turnover for the position. The receptionist should always greet people in a friendly and warm manner. The reception area should smell good, have colors that are not overwhelming, and should not look dirty or "worn out" in any way.
Desk positioning-Desks in offices should not be in direct line with the door but should always be able to see the door (and not have their back facing it). If your back must face the door, put a mirror over your desk so that you may see people entering the room rather than having them "sneak up on you". This same rule applies to cubicles.
Artwork- Take a look around the space at the artwork as this has a very strong influence on employees subconscious thoughts. Is it calming? Beautiful places? Or are you showing storm clouds and jagged mountains? The artwork should reflect company branding and mission, images of "togetherness", calming scenes and words of encouragement.
Color- Color psychology is a topic for discussion all on its own, but in the realm of Feng Shui, the rule is blend in a nice mix of colors in many different areas and try to incorporate the branding colors into the space. It's ok if the hues aren't exactly the same as the logo but just having them relatively close will help reinforce the brand throughout the space.
As far as specific colors go, here's a short intro to color theory on specific colors:
Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags.
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.
Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy.
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance
Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors.
White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning.
Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, 'black death').
Clutter - In today's open office environment, clutter is more prominently noticeable than ever before. As the workstations are shrinking and storage is a commodity, avoiding clutter is almost impossible. Some tips on avoiding clutter in the workplace:
Purge often! Make sure important files and documents always have a home but also that other papers aren't being kept around that aren't necessary.
Remove old and broken furniture rather than storing it away hoping to "maybe" have it fixed someday. Inventory management can be key to determining how much clutter your office has or not.
Ensure each employee has storage for personal belongings as well as necessities for their position.
If "hot desks" or "hoteling" stations are being used, make sure employees have adequate lockers or storage cubbies for the personal items when they arrive.
Private offices should be held just as responsible as the open areas to make sure no one is left out from being asked to keep their area tidy.
Make it a habit to have a 6-month office "purge" and get everyone involved and make it fun! Pizza and fun music can help motivate the team and get them excited for the spring cleanup, as well as the feeling of accomplishment after the task is complete.
Lighting- Lighting in the workplace is very important. The best lighting scenario is to have LED overhead lighting that isn't too bright, lots of natural light from windows and an LED task light on each users desk. Having individual control over the lighting in their environment is statistically shown to increase happiness among employees.
or all fluorescent as this can actually lead to depression.
Ergonomics- Ergonomics is rarely thought of as a concept in Feng Shui but is extremely important as to how a user feels when at their workstation. It is important that each user has a task chair that fits their body type and can sit at their desks with the following ergonomic rules in place:
Work in a slightly reclined position and ensure back is again chair back to help reduce the load on the spine and muscles
Relax your shoulders, keep your arms close to your body and have your elbows at a 90-degree angle when typing.
Position the top of the monitor at arms' reach and slightly below eye level.
Position the mouse right next to the keyboard for minimal reaching.
Place feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Make sure seat cushion is not pressing against the back of your calves.
Take one or two three-minute breaks to stand up and stretch every hour.