Did you know that SOME office buildings and offices are better than others? Have you ever considered the difference between a GOOD and a GREAT office? Would you like to have your desk in a location that is RANDOM… or SUPERIOR? Because all these factors secretly determine not only your PERSONAL level of accomplishment but also your overall BUSSINESS success! Read more about some of the obvious and also the HIDDEN factors involved in achieving an amazing office! Althea S.T. will show you how to create a great office and make it work for you!
Some Hidden and Nine Obvious Factors of a Great Office
Smart companies understand that offices are not just workspaces but that they are also important business tools.
While the main goal for office space design IN GENERAL is efficient space utilization, it is also important to find – or create – a workplace which will fit into the company’s requirements. An ideal contemporary office also incorporates the company’s culture, brand and values and this is typically achieved through overall design and careful allocation of functions.
However good design alone is sometimes just not enough. What we typically don’t recognize is that a truly great office, regardless of its size or the grandeur of the company, is also under the influence of other hidden factors, which fall under the sphere of Feng Shui. So… some workspaces might look amazing but eventually the business will fail; on the way they’ll experience constant issues with employees and/or clients, or have to deal with recurring legal problems, etc. This is where real Feng Shui can help companies to make informed decisions about the layout, overall design and the placement of important offices and desks. This is typically done as part of a consultation, letting the hidden potentials of the property be unlocked, promoting Qi flow and helping important individuals within the company to achieve excellence.
In order to understand how to create a truly GREAT office, let’s review all the most important elements:
Design matters: goodbye grey and cubicles, welcome flexible design
We all know that appearance does matter; hence good design is a very important part of every great office. The days of grey and dull workspaces, with segregated offices, partitions and cubicle-style desks are definitely gone. (Thanks to studies and practice showing their detrimental effect on productivity and creativity). While earlier research tipped open plan as enabling interaction and collaboration, this model is also under scrutiny these days simply because of the overexposure to everything that is going on in the workspace. This can be in conflict with the requirements of particular businesses and business roles – especially where privacy and being able to focus is important.
The design of modern office environments is progressively moving towards flexible spaces; those which promote collaboration and creative work and which can be adjusted to quickly fill different requirements. From a Feng Shui point of view, this type of design also promotes the flow of energy Qi.
Corporate identity is important and luckily, there are many ways to apply it in an office environment. Company image can be introduced via the building itself, as well as through certain design features, colors, logos, wall murals, pictures or even statement pieces of furniture. While some companies have their own approach, the possibilities are endless and are limited only by the creativity of the designers.
A personal & homely feel
Employees are part of the company, but they are also distinctive individuals. Every smart company wants to improve employee satisfaction, morale and productivity, and this can be done by encouraging them to add some personal and/or inspirational items within their workstations. Since achieving a homely feel at work can contribute to their job satisfaction, this is where plants, fish tanks and aquariums can help.
T for Teamwork
Companies are well aware of the importance of teamwork and typically encourage communication, information exchange and working in teams. However for a team to work more effectively there has to be some kind of closed space available for this purpose. With flexible office design this can be quite easy to accomplish.
Different types of businesses = different requirements
Every business is specific, with its own phases and workflow. Accordingly we wouldn’t want to use the same design in a property developer’s office (which is bursting with a variety of different activities) and a software developer’s office (where silence and focus are vital). Moreover in some office buildings coordination between equipment, departments and personnel is of the utmost importance and can have a huge affect on the overall results. Therefore the definition of what constitutes a balanced space will differ from business to business; there is no template for the ideal layout. Instead success comes more as a result of the careful evaluation of both the business and the space.
It’s never too late for sustainability
Fortunately, creating eco-friendly spaces is becoming a standard and more and more companies are committing themselves to improving sustainability. Sustainability starts with hiring an expert in sustainable building and insulation materials, and then continues through to using recycled furniture, the installation of automated lighting systems, using energy-saving computers, establishing paperless offices, etc.
Let the light and view in!
Whenever available, natural light and a nice view should be incorporated into the overall design of a workspace. An amazing view should always be included because this will provide more energy Qi, which will in turn inspire the employees, boosting their enthusiasm and productivity. When it comes to natural light, there is really no substitute. However while we mostly all prefer to make best use of any natural light that is available, we still need to create appropriate artificial lighting. Light is important, not only because it helps employees stay awake and productive but also because it has a positive affect on their mood and overall levels of satisfaction.
Healthy lifestyle - for healthy employees
Companies and employers in general are becoming aware of the need to encourage healthy behavior in the work environment. This is because they know that it will reflect positively on enthusiasm and motivation levels. Incorporating a gym, as well as communal areas with a relaxed environment into the workspace, helps promote not only a healthy lifestyle for the workers but it will also encourage socialization, team building, informal meetings and so on. Bike storage for staff who cycle to work has already became the norm in modern offices, however creating a healthy environment can be expanded even further; providing healthy snacks, nutritional consultations, fitness classes, etc. Ergonomic office furniture is a very important element in creating healthy workspaces as ergonomic chairs and comfortable workstations can help in improving the overall health and productivity of staff by soothing any back, neck and hand pains that are often related to certain types of jobs.
Healthy office spaces also imply reducing the impact of noise and heat; air quality can be improved not only by using air purifiers but also with certain types of plants. NASA’s Clean Air Study showed that keeping an English ivy plant on your desk supports better focus due to its ability to absorb benzene, which is commonly found in office equipment. Other plants such as Boston fern, spider plant, peace lily, etc., are also good at absorbing pollutants thereby contributing to the creation of healthy office design.
Power to the key people
There is no doubt that most corner offices are well deserved; being on the executive floor is a matter of hard work and commitment and not just coincidence. Consequently, the workspaces of key people within an organization should help to support their decision making processes, just as they should reflect their position and the company culture.
Appearance-wise, the style of the overall office design should be selected in accordance with the executive’s personality. However this should also be enriched by touches of warmth and personalization, which will help to make visitors feel welcome. Along these lines it is accepted that the executive having a larger office chair clearly states who’s in charge, but there are also some invisible signs of power which should be taken into account. This is where real Feng Shui can significantly help to create a great executive office, which will be in tune with the individual’s position and personality; where the position of the desk and the facing direction will be carefully selected in order to support authority, growth and progress!
Some of the hidden factors of amazing offices
The fact that the majority of my clients are well educated entrepreneurs and CEOs tells me that most executives have a profound understanding of the significance of knowledge, hard work and specialized services. Companies surely need to help create unique and motivational workspaces that will promote smooth workflow while also encouraging employees to engage more and raise their productivity levels. Designing and/or improving workspaces is a process that includes hiring specialists (Feng Shui experts, architects, etc.), who will study both the requirements of the business and the uniqueness of the property to come up with a design which will bring to life every aspect of having a great office.
With the help of real Feng Shui it is possible to select the most promising office building or to decide which is the best floor or even the unit with the greatest potential. When it comes to designing the layout, it is essential to first decide which is the best entrance and how to allocate rooms (this includes the location of the main entrance as well as the reception and waiting rooms), because this is where the business starts and where the wealth will flow in. When designing a workspace from scratch, we will carefully position the windows and walls; it is our job to know what areas should be left open to promote overall Qi flow and which should be closed. This, amongst other things, depends on the landscape and directions, and this particular type of knowledge is our specialty.
Naturally, some offices are more important than others and these spaces should be suitable for key individuals within the organization as their decisions affect the overall business results. This is why we pay special attention to finding the best office(s) for them and place their desks in the best possible location. We know that certain directions work better than others – so we always look for the best ones! When applying Feng Shui to existing workspaces, we strive to make the most of what is already there. Hence, the very first step in the consultation process is to assess the potentials of the space and the influence of the surroundings. The next step involves finding the most efficient ways to enhance the Qi flow, which may require simple furniture rearrangement and/or finding better places for certain people.
* When I was hired to design the headquarters of one of the largest global corporations, I carefully considered the impact of all of the three main options for positioning the entrance. As you would expect, my 15+ years of practice enabled me to choose the most active one…and this entrance to the corporation will continue to work for the business for a long time. Design-wise, the most appropriate floor plan was a flexible one, which encouraged the team work but also allowed for isolated workstations for both formal and informal meetings. Keeping in mind the high level of decision making within that company, in order to support the overall success of the business, executives had their offices positioned in the best possible locations, and their desks were placed so as to activate their best personal directions. This important process will now support them at all times in their day-to-day work. .
How we carry out our Feng Shui consultation
- Real Feng Shui is not about placing items on your desk. So in order to help you select, design and improve your workspaces, we need to know the details of your business.
- In order to come up with the best possible design or improvements, we work closely with CEOs, architects, designers and the company’s real estate team and collect and analyze data concerning the workspace.
- Our common goal is the design of healthy and inspiring workspaces, which will attract the best employees and promote the business.
- In our line of work, we use scaled layouts in addition to Google Maps, a compass and official information regarding local declination. This helps is to assess the potentials of the space and find ways to enhance the good areas of the property.
- By using smart delineations of functions and promoting smooth workflow, we are able to create vibrant spaces which will work for both the staff - and the business.
- We can definitely find the best location for your office! Just as we can help with positioning your desk and space personalization! The way we support your business might not be very obvious but while out of sight to most, the way we set up your office will not only have a major affect on each individual but also your business. We also very carefully select the best personal directions for the key people in the office; helping them to give their best and make use of their potentials.
- Regarding improvements, we will suggest some alterations that can be made in terms of design, as well as changing the locations of their work station for certain people.
- When available, we will find the best places for installing outdoor pools or fountains – as well as indoor aquariums and fish tanks). These water features provide depth, help you to connect with nature and make a space more appealing, as well as enhancing the flow of Qi . All of which have a beneficial effect on your business and profit!
If you want to find out more, be sure to check out the following books:
© Althea S.T.
author, real Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology expert
Despite numerous misconceptions, real Feng Shui is not an idle pursuit. Instead it is a systematic and profound form wisdom concerned with the assessment, improvement or design of Qi flow, thereby supporting employees within a company and enabling the smooth development of the business. In my personal opinion, every smart executive wants to learn more about what comes with the business space they have taken on, which is no different to wanting to understand more about their employees. Our job is to “interview” the space to find out more about the good and bad aspects of a property and to help awaken its hidden potentials!