Building professionals working from home can use Feng Shui to improve experience and productivity
By Jessie Kim
By the time this article is published, I can’t say whether we will still be working from home due to the reissues of shelter-in-place orders or if we’ll be back in the now-seemingly relaxing comforts of the office. Either way, you’ll have some tools here to make immediate changes to relieve much of the burden you’re likely experiencing.
Probably like you, I went from driving to school, to the office, to visit clients, back to school, to the kids’ practices, to now setting up work meetings (as well as my kids’ distance learning and virtual practices) all from the “comfort” of my home via videoconference. For the first two weeks at home, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, sad, and just wanted to be left alone—not typical traits of mine. And then I was reminded of the solution while on a videoconference with a client.
The modern practicality of the 3,000-year-old practice of Feng Shui consistently amazes me. Most people, particularly in the homebuilding industry, only think of Feng Shui for its placement of objects, but it’s also about the placement of ourselves with- in our environment. Working from home is a challenge because the environment is designed primarily for relaxation, not laser focus on work when others are also home. The good news is that Feng Shui helps us integrate better with our environment, even in times like these.
In a famous incident a few years ago, BBC World had a live video interview of a political analyst from his home office which was crashed by his two small children before his wife could drag them out. Since the quarantine started, such incidents now seem normal. Our efforts to find a quiet place to work or conduct videoconferences have resulted in multiple examples of poor office Feng Shui, which also happen to have real-world implications, even for a videoconference. The client video call included an example of someone who had her back to a window, darkening her face in the video and overwhelming her with energy. Another had their back to the office door, just like the political analyst, where we saw kids running down the hallway and probably giving that person an anxious feeling of people watching over their shoulder. Yet another had a poster behind him of large waves crashing onto a lighthouse, symbolism that probably manifested into a feeling of unease that would explain the bags under his eyes. I even saw someone working from her closet, probably the only way to provide segmentation between home and work life.
It was this video call that reminded me of my bad Feng Shui positioning that needed to be remedied. In an effort to give my husband space for his video calls in the home office while being close to the kids to help with their distance learning, I unwittingly placed myself in a position on the dining table near a fireplace where my back was to the patio door. Once I realized my error, I moved to a location at the table where my back was to a solid wall and I could see all of the doorways to the room. My mood immediately improved. Though I’m still juggling the same workload, I no longer feel stressed out, sad, or overwhelmed. I have perspective over the entire room. It also prevents my kids from videobombing my calls, allowing me to preserve my professionalism. I feel in control again.
If you feel overwhelmed, uneasy about your work environment, or simply can’t stop working at all hours, try to implement these tips for your workspace, however small it may be:
- Keep your back to a solid wall where you can see all windows and doors in the room.
- Ensure proper lighting is in front of you, rather than only behind or directly above you.
- Make sure only calming pictures and elements surround you.
- Eliminate clutter from your home.
- These same principles apply to your workspace at your office, so make sure to apply them when restrictions are lifted.
Oh, and be sure to wash your hands and don’t touch your face!