Roll back to April ’95, as our CEO and Founder David Pollock recalls:
‘I read a great Feng Shui book over Easter. On my first day back in the office I moved a mirror; that week we won our biggest ever contract. Ever since then I’ve been a believer in the power of good energy achieved by following the simple principles of Feng Shui. If we have a performance dip, one of the first thing I do is have a Feng Shui refresh. Tidy up mess, move clutter, spring clean.’
So, what is Feng Shui?
Traditionally, Feng Shui is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. It originated in China over 3,000 years ago and in literal translation means ‘wind’ and ‘water’. It contains elements of various branches of scholarly study, including physics, philosophy, astronomy, and astrology. It is related closely to an understanding of nature, particularly the idea that the land is alive and filled with chi, or energy.
Feng Shui in the office
Along with British Airways, Nike and The Body Shop, Chess are huge believers in the boost to morale and productivity that Feng Shui brings. In essence it’s about how you interact with your environment, creating the right sort of energy and surrounding yourself in beauty to make you feel good. In business, having an office detox, removing clutter and generating space, can create the same effect.
At Chess, CEO and Founder David Pollock brought in plants to oxygenate the atmosphere, clean fresh water fish tanks to reduce stress (fish poo does not inspire brilliance) and changed the office colour scheme to reflect the different energies of the departments within. And there is of course a clear desk policy to help provide a natural and organised atmosphere.
And while many of the messages behind Feng Shui are aesthetic, it’s also just as important to consider whether your surroundings reflect where you see your business headed, rather than the rear-view mirror energy of where your business has been.
How to Feng Shui Your Office Space
Declutter, declutter, declutter. Your business prosperity and work performance can be amplified by decluttering and establishing order on your desk. Productive chi cannot flow if all that “stuff” on your desk is blocking its movement and cluttering up your mind as well as your workspace.
Go Green! Live plants bring many positive elements to your workplace, they improve air quality, and bring a little bit of the natural world in. Green plants encourage personal and natural growth. Why not try a lucky bamboo, a peace lily or a moth orchid out for size?
Bring in the light! Yellow tinged and fluorescent lights can make you feel fatigued and lacking energy. Aim for as much natural light as possible and do your best to take your breaks outside.
Make your workspace pop! Your favourite colours will always inspire you, as will pieces of art. Add bits of colour and positive images around your office - it will make you feel energised and inspired.
Avoid Angles! Sha-Chi (The Feng Shui name for poison arrows) is the naughty attacking energy that can deplete and weaken your energy. The easiest way to remedy this is to reposition desks so you have no sharp arrows pointing at you whilst you work. If you’re unable to do this, place an item in front of the of the sharp corner in order to neutralise the bad energy (do make sure the item is office suitable, Kevin from Accounts might have questions about a dubious inflatable perched on his desk corner).
Have we Shui’d you, yet?
Whether or not you believe in chi energy and the more mystical aspects of Feng Shui or not, its basic principles make a lot of sense. A clean, brightly lit, attractive place to work does a lot for productivity and motivating your employees. As our CEO David Pollock tells us:
‘You don’t know what you don’t know. If it’s good enough for the Chinese Empire, it’s good enough for me.’