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Guidelines for Office & Business Environments

By Alex Stark. Copyright and all rights reserved.

The following set of guidelines outlines basic considerations for the design and evaluation of office and commercial environments. These are to be taken only as a guide, as the practice of Feng Shui involves many analytical tools which are beyond the scope of this document. For optimal results, always consult with a professional practitioner.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Entrances determine the overall Fortune of an Enterprise.

  • The center line axis (front to back) of the working space is reflective of and rules the Careers and Reputation of its principals and staff.

  • The transverse axis (left to right) of the working space is reflective of and rules its History, Institutional Destiny, Investors, and Level of Satisfaction.

  • Finances, Prosperity, and Power are ruled by the Conference Room, the Executive Offices, Stairwells, Elevators, and the Far Left Corner of the overall space.

  • Relationships with Clients, Consumers and Staff are ruled by the Reception, the Conference Room, the Common Areas and by the Far Right Corner.

  • The Reception rules the Public Face of the Enterprise. This is also where the Institution’s Mission Statement and its Reputation can be most readily enhanced.

  • Store Rooms and Closets rule the Subconscious Attitudes of the Enterprise.

  • Clarity of layout and good orientation have a positive impact on the financial prospects for a enterprise. This is true not only of architectural design and interior layout, but also because intangible forces are acting on the structure from the directions of the compass.

  • These intangible forces change in time, so its is important to understand this pattern of change and make necessary adjustments. At the very least it is important to check the Flying Star chart of a building once a year.

  • Certain sectors of a floor plan have greater potential to enhance finances and prosperity. These sectors are a function of the orientation and age of the building. Hence it is important to be aware of the possibility that a different orientation could result in different financial prospects for a building.

  • It is best if a building is matched to its occupants. Compatibility is a function of the orientation of the building and the date of birth of the occupant.

  • The history of a structure can also have an impact on financial potential. Sites that have seen traumatic events such as death, wars, bankruptcy, legal problems, crimes, misfortune, depression, suicide, etc. can have a detrimental effect on the bottom line.


  • CHOOSE A WINING LOCATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS

  • How your business is located in relation to the neighborhood and the street is a critical determinant of fortune and success. Although a proper analysis of siting and orientation is a matter for professional expertise, certain basic rules need to be observed.

  • Choose office and commercial space which is located in neighborhoods that have a track record of success. Pioneer locations drain energy from an enterprise and impact bottom line.

  • Look for wide, unobstructed streets with ample sunlight.

  • Preferred exposures are to the East, Southeast, West, and Northwest.

  • Locate your business on a street which brings traffic towards you, not away from you.

  • However, traffic should not aim directly at your premises. This creates difficulty and negative consequences.

  • An office building with a large foyer is good, as it gathers positive energy and buffers against negative energy.

  • A fountain inside or outside the main building entrance is very positive, as it activates the incoming energy for the entire building.

  • Avoid office or commercial buildings with reflective windows, as wealth and prosperity cannot come into the premises.

  • Avoid office or commercial space on top of parking garages. This is very negative for success and can seriously impact the health of your staff.

  • Avoid buildings adjacent to power plants, highways, railways, bridges, hospitals, cemeteries, churches, or communication towers.

  • Avoid buildings that are dwarfed by taller structures.

  • Avoid buildings which have upper levels larger than lower levels.

  • Avoid buildings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, as profits leak out of the premises.


  • ENHANCE YOUR ENTRANCES AND CORRIDORS

  • Entrances are important in determining the overall fortune of an enterprise as they are the mouth through which vital energy enters your space. They are also important in creating the institution’s relationship with the outside world and its interaction with the community and client base.

  • Entrance doorways should be open and expansive. Avoid funnels that constrict traffic into the building or into its lobby.

  • Entry doors should operate smoothly and open directly into unobstructed, wide, well lit areas or lobbies with a warm, happy feeling.

  • Avoid stairs or elevators that face the main entry. If this is unavoidable, screen them with plants, sculpture, or architectural baffles.

  • Avoid long narrow paths or corridors leading up to the front door, especially if they are straight.

  • Do not have trees, utility poles or other such obstructions blocking your main entry.

  • Avoid long, narrow corridors. If you can’t, place mirrors along the sides of the hall to make it feel more expansive and light it as brightly as possible. To break up long corridors, hang objects or introduce architectural breaks along its length to divide it into sections.

  • Avoid doors that open onto walls directly in front of them. If they do, hang a mirror or a bright decorative object on the facing wall in line with the door to extend the entrance visually. Add bright lights.

  • Main corridors should not point at the reception, conference rooms or offices.

  • Avoid hallways that run straight towards offices, conference rooms or individual desks.

  • Avoid more than two consecutive doors in line along a corridor or between rooms. Three doors or more in a row create divisiveness in the institution as well as health problems for its staff. To solve this, hang objects or place screens in the path of movement to slow down the energy as it moves down its path.

  • Avoid placing offices, conference rooms, or other critical functions next to or facing the stairs or elevators.

  • Avoid unused doors. Convert these into walls or, if you cannot do this, hang mirrors or bright artwork on them to disperse bad energy.

  • Avoid facing doors that overlap or don’t face each other directly. To solve, hang mirrors on the sections of wall that overlap.

  • Avoid doors that have slanted shapes or that open at a bias. They portend unexpected, negative consequences. To solve, hang plants or create a horizon line above the slanted door, and request professional assistance.


  • MAKE STAIRS OPEN AND GRACEFUL

  • Stairs have a marked impact on the finances and prosperity of an institution. Stairs and elevators conduct energy and as such can affect fortune, profitability, efficiency and stability in an institution.

  • Wide, curved, graceful stairways opening onto wide landings are best.

  • Avoid long, straight or narrow stairs that constrict energy. When designing these, break up runs with wide landings. To enhance circulation use bright lights or place mirrors on walls or ceilings.

  • Avoid stairs that are excessively steep. Shallower stairs are more comfortable to use and channel energy more effectively.

  • Avoid narrow spiral staircases. They conduct energy too quickly. To compensate, use a bright light at the top of the stairwell and wind tassels, wreaths or other decorative motifs along the banisters to slow down the energy. To qualify for this warning a spiral staircase must curl around itself at least one complete turn.

  • Avoid stairs that point directly towards the entrance door. These drain money and financial opportunity. This is particularly true of escalators or mechanical stairs. To compensate, place plants, screens or chimes between the stairs and the door and place bright objects or lights at the top of the stairwell.


  • DESIGN YOUR CONFERENCE ROOMS FOR SUCCESS

  • Fortune is created and enhanced in Conference Rooms. It is therefore an essential component not only in the decision making process but for overall success as well.

  • To preserve their potential, avoid placing Conference Rooms adjacent to stairs, elevators or bathrooms.

  • Avoid having the Conference Room as the first thing you see upon entering the premises, as this will drain away finances.

  • The Conference Room should not be in a cramped space, nor should it have a crowded feeling. There should be ample room for work. Provide generous passage behind chairs and don’t forget to account for coats, briefcases and umbrellas. Crowded, cluttered environments slow down energy, negatively affecting decision making and finances. If the space is crowded, use mirrors to visually extend the walls of the space.

  • The Group Leader should command a view of the entire Conference Room and its entrance as he or she sits at the head of the conference table.

  • Avoid having the Group Leader’s back to the door, or, in the case of glassed rooms, to corridors or other workers’ offices. This will drain the Group Leader’s power. If this is unavoidable, place a mirror on the wall facing the Group Leader’s chair which can act as a “rear view mirror”, allowing him or her a view of entrances and corridors.

  • Avoid sharp wall corners or angled architecture, especially if they are pointing at participants. These sharp angles can be softened by placing plants, soft fabric or round molding in front of them.

  • Avoid sharp, angular cabinets or furniture. It is best if edges on furniture and wall corners are rounded.

  • Use round or oval conference tables. Avoid long, narrow tables and odd configurations such as “H”, “T”, or “O” formations.


  • OPTIMIZE OFFICE CONFIGURATION

  • Nothing affects personal performance more significantly than personal space. A clear, well defined work space that enjoys protection and which commands a secure power base will generate increased returns in efficiency, performance and personal satisfaction.

  • Avoid placing offices or suites next to elevators or stairways.

  • Avoid placing any office or suite facing elevator or stair doors.

  • Avoid placing offices or suites at the end of hallways or corridors, especially if these are long.

  • The best position for a desk is against a solid wall and with a clear view of the door. Power is increased as you move farther from the entry. Therefore the best position is diagonally opposite the door.

  • Avoid sitting positions which place your back to a door, a corridor, a large open area or a very large window. If this is unavoidable, use a “rear view mirror” to see behind you.

  • Avoid sitting positions directly in front of a door or very large window. If this is unavoidable, protect yourself with screens, plants or furniture.

  • Avoid sitting positions in a large open area without protection from the sides and a clear territorial boundary.

  • Avoid sitting positions facing a wall that is closer than six feet. If this is unavoidable, place a picture with visual depth on the wall in front of you.

  • Avoid sitting positions directly facing someone who is closer than six feet. If this is unavoidable, place plants, sculpture or decorations between desks.

  • Avoid having sharp corners and edges of walls or large items of furniture pointing directly at a desk. If this is unavoidable, shield the desk with plants, screens or soft decorations.

  • Avoid placing desks directly under large beams, overhead shelves or cupboards. If this is unavoidable, hang soft items from the beams, or shine lights up to deflect sinking energy away from the sitter.

  • Avoid office layouts in which any sitter cannot see the whole space from their position (as in a L-shape). If this is unavoidable, use mirrors to see into the obscured area.


  • CLEAR OBSTRUCTIONS AND COMBAT UNTIDINESS

  • Clutter, untidiness, and any obstructions to the free flow of vital energy will invariably have a negative impact upon overall performance and, consequently, upon commercial and corporate success.

  • Clear obstructions to getting in or out of offices. This includes dark or narrow corridors, stairs, or doors, as well as piles of incoming or outgoing products.

  • Avoid unclear traffic patterns. Energy flows best when paths are clear, obvious and easy to follow.

  • Clear obstructions to desks or workstations. This includes piles of books, files, or bins around desks, as well as broken furniture, old newspapers, etc.

  • Clear obstructions at desks or workstations. Make room to maneuver arms, legs, and torso.

  • Create easy access to drawers, computer, waste bin, and phone.

  • Make room behind desks for getting in and out of chairs. Keep clearances into account.

  • Eliminate all objects lying under desks or chairs.

  • Clear clutter at desks by filing necessary papers, discarding old ones, and using multi-level trays or files.

  • Have the office fully cleaned at least once a week. Vacuum every night.

  • Have the windows washed often. It is worth the expense.

  • Provide bins for recycling, garbage, product in transit, mail. Over-design is better than clutter!


  • CONTROL THE SOUND ENVIRONMENT

  • Combat disruptive noise. It is considered the most disruptive of all factors in offices!

  • Place computers, copiers and fax machines as far away from workstations as possible.

  • Place carpeting or sound absorbing materials under computers, copiers or any vibrating equipment.

  • Minimize orange and yellow colors in the workplace. They encourage loud talking and noise.

  • Introduce soft greens and blues to calm and quiet the atmosphere.


  • CORRECT INADEQUATE LIGHTING

  • Inadequate or inappropriate lighting rates second as an energy-draining source.

  • Use background lighting that is not excessively bright. If it is, you can remove some light bulbs from the ceiling fixtures.

  • If lighting is too dull, add task lights, wash the walls with light, add bright items, or repaint with lighter colors.

  • Light should be as close to the normal daylight spectrum as possible.

  • Task lighting should be somewhat brighter and easily controlled for intensity and focus.

  • Avoid fluorescent lights. If you can’t, add red items around you.

  • If desks are light in color, add darker items but be aware of excess contrast.

  • If desks are dark in color, add lighter items but be aware of excess contrast.

  • To combat computer screen glare, add a polarizing filter.

  • If possible, outfit your offices with demand switches that turn on only when somebody is actually in the room. This saves power and money and is ecologically smart.


  • CONTROL TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

  • Comfort is important not only because it affects the bottom line, but also because it impacts upon health.

  • Install adequate controls and partition zones according to use or function.

  • If the environment is too cold and you cannot control heat output, add more lights, or add red or orange to decor.

  • If the environment is too hot, use more cool blue or green colors, add water to the environment by placing water in a bowl, by watering plants, or by adding a water fountain.

  • If the environment feels too dry, drink lots of water, add lush plants, or purchase a quality humidifier.


  • CONTROL THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT

  • Control the psychological impact of imagery. Images and symbols that surround you should be affirmative and positive in character. Motivation can be drained by images that are not supportive to the individual or the institution.

  • Abstract art and obscure images force us to figure them out, and that wastes energy.

  • Negative imagery should be avoided. This includes: scenes of desolation and isolation, storms, weapons, drab, dull colors, scenes of destruction, images with sharp angles or points, images of anything dead, images from the past that are sad or unfortunate, or anything that goes down.

  • Positive imagery should be encouraged. This includes: sunrises, birds, airplanes or anything that goes up, bright landscapes, trees, plants or anything growing, natural movement, happy, successful people, teachers, or leaders, gently flowing water or pathways, elegant, prosperous cityscapes, parks, or gardens.


  • CONTROL THE IMPACT OF COLOR

  • Color can be used to compensate for deficiencies in the environment and as a way of enhancing or augmenting potential.

  • Avoid dull, flat colors such as gray or beige. They stifle creativity and efficiency. If you can’t, bring in more life with flowers, bright art or pictures, but avoid color pollution.

  • It is better to have light, bright colors than either very strong or very weak colors.

  • Soft greens and blues will calm nerves and lower voices.

  • Yellow is effective in energizing creativity and brainstorming.

  • Soft blue or purple is helpful for work that requires deep thinking or imagination.

  • Routine tasks that require extended periods of concentration are supported by green.

  • Use warm soft yellow, orange or peach to compensate for slow, uninspiring work.

  • Adding a small amount of bright red to an environment enhances the power base of the individual occupying the space.


  • CONTROL POLLUTION

  • Air pollution is a significant contributor to poor performance, as it negatively impacts health. It is a primary cause of sick leave and absenteeism, and rates high among factors contributing to staff turnover. For more information on non-toxic environments, please consult our page Guidelines for Non-Toxic Environments.

  • Perform a green audit of your building to determine its overall level of health. This will also serve as a baseline for future reference.

  • If possible, keep printers and photocopiers in a separate ventilated room.

  • Keep lots of plants that absorb common toxins. These include: areca palm, Boston fern, bamboo palm, rubber plant, English ivy, ficus, peace lily, king of hearts, dwarf banana, lily turf, spider plant, dwarf azalea, tulip.

  • Avoid cleaners and solvents with toxic chemicals. Encourage use of cleaners and solvents made from such natural materials as vinegar, borax, baking soda, salt or lemon juice.

  • Reduce dust levels by minimizing open shelving and reducing clutter.


  • CONTROL ELECTRO-MAGNETIC RADIATION

  • Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) are an invisible form of pollution which has been linked to many health problems. It is best to avoid it, as its safety cannot be guaranteed. For more information on electromagnetic fields, please consult our page Guidelines for Safe Electrical Systems.

  • Locate your office as far away as possible from sources of large EMF’s such as power plants, transmission towers, parabolic antennas, or high voltage lines.

  • Minimize use of high-EMF-devices such as microwave cookers, mobile phones, fluorescent lights, photocopying machines, laser printers, and computers.

  • Suppress EMF’s at source by using electrical shielding or cork tiles under computers, printers, etc.

  • Absorb unwanted EMF’s by introducing ferns, evergreens and cacti.

  • Strengthen your biological system by eating properly, exercising, drinking pure filtered water, and taking the right balance of nutritional supplements to provide minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants necessary to combat EMF’s.

  • Avoid electrical lines that run under the desk or that are located too close to the headboard. A maximum of 2 feet for electrical runs is advised. Similarly, avoid electrical appliances closer than 3 feet from the head. Look into demand switching that shuts off all power to the sleeping quarters.

  • To preserve your health, avoid placing offices directly adjacent, below or above parking garages, mechanical rooms or workshops, as well as any other mechanical equipment that generates significant EMF’s.


  • BE AWARE OF GEOPATHIC STRESS

  • Look into geopathic stress as a possible cause of weakened vitality, absenteeism, and poor performance. Geopathic stress is a form of earth energy which is considered unsuitable for humans and exposure to which can result in a myriad complications, from minor accidents to full blown disease.

  • Look for the following signs: inexplicable irritability, inexplicable illnesses, unwarranted exhaustion, history of poor performance, mysterious accidents or other unexplainable events, withering plants, anthills, wasp nests, stray cats.

  • Geopathic activity has also been implicated in the following disorders: insomnia, nightmares, inexplicable irritability, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, migraine, asthma, eczema, arthritis, immune disorders, and rheumatic disorders.

  • As this field is relatively new to mainstream society and because it requires extensive experience, it is imperative to consult with a qualified dowser or geomancer. Please consult “Guidelines for Earth Energy” in the Resources page for more information.