In almost all building-occupant surveys, 3 of the most common complaints are bad air quality, bad lighting and uncomfortable working spaces. With this page we're going to try to address these problems by approaching them from a different direction -- Feng Shui.
Feng Shui (which is pronounced "fung shway", and translated to English, means "wind and water") is the ancient Japanese art of arranging your surroundings in such a way that your life is happier, calmer, healthier, and more energetic. Feng Shui is meant to improve "Chi" (which is pronounced "chee", and means “energy" or "life-force").
No matter how you feel about Feng Shui, there are definitely some gains to be had by experimenting with different office arrangements. We don't claim to be experts on the subject, of course, so we had to do some web cruising on the subject, and we found some interesting ways to improve our Chi.
Problem : You get a lot of glare on your computer screen from the sun. Solution : Experiment with your mini-blinds, possibly tilting them at a different angle halfway through the day, or move your monitor or desk. Or try putting a folding shoji screen behind you. It will filter the light, and soften it.
Problem : The room contains a tall piece of furniture within your line of vision. This can have the effect of making you uncomfortable, because large items looming over you make you feel "dominated". Solution: Move that big piece of wood! Also, dark furniture might look great in the showroom, but it absorbs light and can make that part of your office seem dark and gloomy.
Problem : Your work area is dark, or the ceiling light fixtures are spaced wrong for your desk. Two solutions:
(1) Add a task light on or above your desk. There are so many choices in task lighting today, and one that's "your style" can help personalize your work area.
(2) Most ceiling-suspended light fixtures are usually pretty easy to add or move. They remove a ceiling tile, drop a fixture in, and wire it in with the other surrounding fixtures. Almost every building has a dozen extra fixtures in the storage room, just waiting to brighten your day.
And speaking of lights, the moment you notice that you have a burnt-out or flickering light overhead, bring it to someone's attention. “Strobing” lights can bring on a headache and eyestrain very quickly.
Problem : A heating or air-conditioning duct is above your chair, blowing hot or cold air onto you. Solution: Ask your maintenance man to install an air diverter on the duct.
Opposite Problem : There is no air movement in your area; the air feels dead and stagnant. Solution : Get a HEPA air purifier with a fan, something that will move some air and clean it at the same time. Find one with very low noise.
Problem : A desk lamp is positioned on the side of your dominant hand. This can be a problem because the light casts a shadow over whatever you're working on, be it your keyboard or a piece of paperwork. Anytime your eyes have to screen out a shadow to see what you're working on, it saps your ability to concentrate. Solution: Move that lamp so it shines from the other direction, and preferably from an angle where it doesn't shine in your eyes or create glare.
Problem:Office noise, traffic sounds, and other background sounds make it hard for you to concentrate. Solution: Provide your own background sounds. Radios aren't recommended for your Chi, so try a white-noise generator that make sounds like thunderstorms, rain and waterfalls, or try YouTube for nature-sounds videos.
Problem : You can't see outside while sitting at your desk. This is a problem because your Chi appreciates a connection with nature. Solution: Hang a large nature-theme wall-hanging on a wall that's in your line of sight, or put a potted plant, or even a nice bonsai tree, on or next to your desk.
Problem : Your desk or computer is next to the door. People are constantly walking by, and you feel like you have no privacy. Solution: Get a nice folding shoji screen to put between your door and your desk.
Problem : You have to cross the telephone cord over your workspace to listen with your favored ear. Supposedly this messes up your Chi. Solution : Easy. Move the phone or get a longer cord.
Problem : You don't have kinetic or energetic objects in your office. Your Chi needs energy around it to feel energetic. Solution: Get one of those nice trickling fountains, or put a small fan at the base of a plant so the leaves will move a bit. Here's a janitor tip - for fountains, use distilled or boiled water. Your fountain pump will last much longer, and it won't stain everything around it with hard-water spots.
Problem : Your office shares a wall with a restroom, print room, or other noisy room.
Solution : Ask that the wall be filled with insulation. If not, hang a long heavy tapestry on a dowel a couple of inches away from the wall. It'll help deaden the noise.