an CPAs boost success by fostering harmony and balance in the workplace? According to the principles of feng shui, you can. Half art, half mysticism, feng shui—Chinese for “wind” and “water” and pronounced fung shway —is the ancient practice of placement design to achieve harmony with the environment and a salutary effect on health and prosperity. Feng shui holds that arranging certain elements according to traditional guidelines can influence outcomes in all areas of life. It has become a popular way to improve the ambience of a home, and entrepreneurs are turning to it to reduce stress and enhance business possibilities. Reports say real estate mogul Donald Trump’s buildings incorporate feng shui, Virgin Atlantic Airways founder Sir Richard Branson uses it and Texas First National Bank and Mutual of New York apply it in their offices. You may even have feng shui consultants among your business clients.
Will increased productivity and success inevitably follow if you arrange your work environment just so? You won’t know unless you try it. Here are some very basic, easy-to-implement feng shui tips CPAs can use to make an office more pleasant and efficient, at home or elsewhere.
Remove clutter. Piles of papers look messy and create negative energy—and you waste time looking for information. Keep your desk and drawers, cabinet tops, window ledges and tabletops as paper-free as possible. File needed documents and put away items daily. Purge clutter weekly, and do a major cleanup twice a year.
Position your desk strategically. To attract prosperity place your desk so you see as much of your workspace as possible. According to feng shui, southeast is the “wealth corner,” so it’s preferable to put your desk on the south side of the room. Avoid having a window or a door behind you, which may leave you “unprotected.”
Note: Bulky furniture such as an overstuffed couch or an extremely large desk can overpower a room and disrupt harmony, the essential goal of feng shui.
Avoid placing furniture in or near a doorway. An entryway allows for the flow of ch’i (pronounced chee ) or life energy. Blocking an office doorway blocks ch’i, decreases productivity and curtails privacy. It’s better to keep obstacles away from an entrance.
Select the right room lighting. Too little light can depress productivity while too much can cause glare and headaches. The right wattage depends on the size of your office and your particular work process. Warm lighting is preferable to overhead fluorescent if you spend hours on the computer. A table or standing lamp with a full-spectrum (day-balanced) bulb helps counteract gloom in a work area.
Use mirrors. Feng shui precepts hold that mirrors protect against threats. Opposite a main entrance they may frighten away clients, however. Full-length mirrors on side walls denote a doubling of clients. Energy should move upward, not down, so make sure the long edges of mirrors hang parallel with walls. Octagonal mirrors draw positive ch’i, practitioners say.
Decorate with plants. Green promotes business growth, and plants brighten any work space. Bamboo and rubber plants represent good fortune, making them good office plants. If a plant dies, dispose of it right away.
Water is key. In feng shui, water symbolizes money. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg—founder of worldwide financial communications company Bloomberg LP and a self-made multibillionaire—has aquariums throughout his business offices. If your office doesn’t have room for one, use a mini interior fountain with clean, smoothly flowing water to achieve the desired effect. If you think a fountain will distract you, substitute a tasteful seascape or a picture of a waterfall.
Use images to reinforce goals. Feng shui holds that you’re likely to achieve the outcomes you visualize. If you would like a particular client or project, for example, prepare a sample engagement letter and put it where you can see it. Replace it as needed.
Choose a dedicated area. Keep business activities separate from your living environment. A separate entrance is best; next best is a location near a front or back door. If your work area must be a part of your living space, separate the two with a room divider.
Get an air purifier. Keep the environment pleasant. To create a harmonious workplace, you must take all of your senses into account. Cooking or pet odors aren’t ideal for your health and may discourage business visitors. Use an air purifier or keep windows open.
Choose color wisely. In the classic feng shui tradition, color balances an individual’s innate personal qualities, strengthens a desired effect or compensates for structural factors in the environment. The ultimate goal is harmony, so what’s important is to use hues you truly enjoy—an office doesn’t need to be power red to promote success.
Here is a list of some color affinities:
Green —stimulates business and money.
Accessorize. Small touches can effectively incorporate feng shui nuances in your home office. Include
Crystals to deflect negative energy. A crystal figurine on your desktop will do.
I Ching coins, which symbolize wealth. Three coins tied with a red thread are said to attract wealth. Place them in your wallet or somewhere discreet in the office.
Jade, a symbol of good fortune. A small jade Buddha may bring good luck to your home office.
Wind chimes. Hang these near an open window, air conditioner or fan to generate a relaxing sweet sound.
A bowl of fruit. A bowl brimming with fruit symbolizes abundance. A bowl of crystal and jade fruit will encourage peace and good fortune and won’t need to be replaced every few days.
HIRE A FENG SHUI CONSULTANT
Regardless of the kinds or number of changes you may make, using feng shui in the workplace can be a plus for today’s busy accountant. A tidy office, pleasant sounds, good light and healthy air flow all contribute to well-being, efficiency and success.