As more and more people reject the office and set up working spaces at home, Nadia Raafat looks at how you can organise your home office to get the best out of feng shui
No more laborious tube journeys, I said as I cleared my office desk for the last time. No more surreptitious personal phone calls when the office manager has her back turned. No more grueling 6am starts. Why? Because I am opting out of the corporate nine-to-five frenzy and setting up office at home. I will work at whatever time I like, wearing what I like and still be super efficient, incredibly productive, in fact, better than I ever was.
Home office workers really are in a fortunate position. When you work from home, you make the rules and being able to dictate what goes where means you can make the most of feng shui in your working environment to benefit your working methods and, by extension, the quality of the work that you produce. By applying a little time and effort to creating the ideal office environment specifically for you, you can forever wave good-bye to those demons that undermine a good day’s work like disorganisation, lethargy, lack of inspiration and just plain old bad luck. Watch with wonder as the worm turns and life at the home office starts falling into place. It won’t be long before you claim success as your own.
Where to put your office
The first and most important factor to bear in mind when setting up at home is to make sure that you have your office in a separate room in the house so that work and home life do not merge and one impedes on the other.
Try not to place your office in a room which overlooks a cemetery, a police station, a prison, a hospital or a T-junction as these places will emit negative ch’i.
Choose a good room. A logical choice for a study might be a room in the NE or knowledge sector of your home. An alternative might be the South or ‘fame’ sector if publicity is important to your home business. Another potential choice might be a room in the SE or wealth sector of your home.
The position of your desk
The location of your desk is the most important part of the layout of your home office and vital in harnessing positive ch’i to benefit your career or company. Be sure to be facing one of your four best directions.
To work out which are your most auspicious directions, you need to work out your kua number. Turn to our Beginners Start Here section at the back of this issue and follow the simple directions listed in the right-hand column. Once you have your kua number, refer to the chart on the same page which will reveal your most auspicious and least auspicious directions. Then return to this article.
Your sheng ch’i or most auspicious direction is good for career and business and is ideally the direction you should be facing when at your desk. Your four worst directions are not as supportive and can create blame, chaos, sabotage and laziness – so avoid them.
You should try to have your desk in the corner furthest from the entrance door. Never sit directly facing the entrance door and certainly never sit with your back to the door – that just invites betrayal. Your back to a window suggests lack of support. Never sit directly underneath an overhead beam as this will cause you to suffer from headaches and feel constantly under pressure.
Whatever you do, do not sit under overhanging high shelving units as this will make you feel as if everything is getting on top of you. And never ever sit at a desk with the pointed corner of a table aimed towards you as this is inviting sha ch’i. Take your proper place at the table and by extension in the working world.
Square or rectangular desks are good for commercial enterprises whereas curved desks may be better suited to those whose first priority is creativity.
What goes on your desk
Once your desk is in the right position and you too, don’t go spoiling it by piling it high with books, food, clutter and ashtrays. A place for everything and everything in its place is an old adage well worth remembering.
The first rule is that the part of the desk surface directly in front of you should be kept clear. This is your unencumbered space. Needless to say your desk should not be piled high with excessive jumble as this creates too much yin and trapped energy.
Keeping your desk clean and tidy is as much common sense as it is good feng shui and anyone who claims to manage in organised chaos is undermining their potential.
The telephone is crucial to most business people whether self-employed, freelance or home-workers, so it is important that the calls you receive through it bring good news rather than bad. To orientate the telephone and fax machines in your office, you must first discover from where their energy is coming.
You will find this out by observing which direction the plug at the back of the phone (not the one in the wall) is facing. Make sure that this connection is facing one of your four auspicious directions so that all energy targeted at you is coming from one of those four directions, and ideally, your most favourable.
If your best direction is North, then make sure the incoming wires that enter the phone are coming from the North. Apply the same procedure to the photocopy machine.
The computer, our main work tool these days, should be placed on a separate table or desk preferably in a West or North-west (Metal) location.
To brighten your office and invite yang energy in, place a vase or vases of freshly cut flowers on your desk.
But don’t overdo it and transform your working space into an advert for Interflora as this will only be counterproductive. Make sure you change the flowers as soon as the leaves turn yellow or negative ch’i will be emitted.
A small healthy plant on the South-east corner of your desk top will not only lift your spirits but energise the Wood Element of your prosperity location.
Go for ficus plants which have broad, rounded leaves and avoid plants with any sort of thorns including cactus plants as they do not have a good feng shui reputation either.
At the South point of your desk place a desk lamp, as light energises your reputation, while the North-east corner is good for storing reference material because this is the knowledge corner.
Around your desk
The great thing about working at home is that you can bring into the office as many feng shui accoutrements as you desire and nobody can complain. This benefit is most apparent in the case of one of the four Celestial animals, the most auspicious turtle. Traditionally, as guardian of the North, this revered creature symbolises support from important people, continuous protection and longevity.
If you can keep a turtle in your home, then do so because this creature is one of the best possible feng shui features you can have and, as career is governed by the North, you will be inviting excellent career luck into your life. If you cannot keep a real one (a single turtle is more auspicious than two), a ceramic or brass representation or even a painting of one placed on the North wall will serve as well.
The next best feature to energise the North is a fish-tank; a very popular office accessory as aquariums combine water and fish – both symbols of prosperity. People opt for goldfish because the colour gold represents wealth. Naturally you must look after your aquarium as algae or foul smells create negative ch’i which is very undesirable.
When laying out your secondary office furniture such as the bookshelves and filing cabinets, beware all sharp, pointed and threatening looking objects as these secret arrows will undermine all your hard work and exhaust you, and even possibly cause illness. Book shelves should not be placed behind you as they represent knives cutting into your back. Move them or try and cover them so that the shelf edges are not exposed.
For added dynamism and extra good fortune, energise the North sector of your office with a water feature as water is the ruling trigram of the North. Ideally the water should be continuously moving i.e.; a fountain, but don’t overdo it as too much water will have an adverse effect.
Finally use coins and bells tied with red ribbon to decorate the interior (coins) and exterior (bells) of your front door. Coins (three is enough) tied together with red ribbon hung on the inside of the door symbolise that prosperity has already entered, and hanging bells also threaded with red ribbon (the colour activates their symbolism) attracts further good fortune to enter your office.
Symbolically the sound of bells announces the coming of good news.
With everything in its rightful place, including you, your home office is now ready to open for business and plenty of luck may it bring you.