5 Rules for Office Feng Shui

Last week, we enjoyed a great discussion with Jeff Ng of Staple Design about his ideas on "feng shui" in the office. Which got us thinking - is there such a thing as perfecting the art of feng shui? We know there's a book on it and all. However, the office is a whole different animal. Because of that, we've set out to define our own top 5 rules (though they're more like principles, really) to achieve that mysterious "feng shui" thing everyone keeps talking about.

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Jeff Ng believes in an open air environment and the workspace affecting all those around it.

OUR TOP 5 RULES FOR FENG SHUI:

1. Function. If anything, you should let functionality guide your decisions on placement of any furniture or technology around the office. Should this printer go here? How much is it really used? Can I reach it easily when I need it? Every item should be placed in the context of use and optimized according to personal subjective preference.

2. Comfort. A primary rule of feng shui is making sure you are comfortable. Doing so suggests maximized productivity and a calming environment to work in at all times. This also means if you have your back facing anything other than a wall, you might need some adjusting. The optimal feng shui setup allows you to face the people coming into the room, creating an affordance for conversation rather than "I'm trusting you not to be a ninja spy, so please don't attack me from behind."

3. Fashion. Even go into a room and say to yourself, "Man, that sofa really throws off this room." In all honestly, there's no scientific measure for something like aesthetic design, but one can always try. If a huge couch needs balancing, try adding a large painting or wall-shelving. An empty corner? Add some potted plants. Or simply rummage through our on-going Perfect Workplace Contest 2010 for some great ideas inspired by your own fellow readers.

4. Rearrange often. Like anything design related, one must accept the fact that rearranging is inevitable. We like to do it at least once every three months to optimize our working environment for upcoming projects.

5. Declutter. One of the original key rules of feng shui involves knowing what you should leave out. A room overstuffed with anything, from office furniture, to unruly computer cords, to overcrowded file drawers, is not acceptable. Get rid of it. Keep only what you need. And for goodness sake, clean up those wires!

If you might have noticed, this isn't a cumulative list by any means. It's a starting point. If you come up with your own helpful guidelines, share them with us and we'll include it next time we round up tips. Now, get out there, throw on those feng shui helmets, and start rearranging!

[Image: Tia and Mikko's Masterplan]