Ever since I left the corporate world and started my own business, I have worked out of my home office. I love being able to go there in the morning with a cup of tea and do a little work without the hassle of having to get dressed and ready for the day. There are many benefits of working at home, but there are challenges as well, such as knowing how to set boundaries and quit working.
Feng Shui is about being in balance, which means having a balanced work-life. I interviewed my colleague Diane Gallin, Founder of Wind and Water Feng Shui Consulting, and enjoyed her practical, useful Feng Shui advice for how to deal with these important issues when working at home. I asked her to share them with my Care2 readers.
Diane: Now that autumn has arrived in the northern hemisphere, we’ll be spending more time indoors. As nature transitions inward and the days grow shorter, interior environments exert even more influence over our activities and their outcomes. For this reason, I find autumn an ideal time to examine both home and workplace from a Feng Shui perspective.
One of the benefits of working from home is freedom from many of the environmental problems associated with enclosed commercial buildings such as high electromagnetic fields, harsh lighting, monotonous decor, windowless offices and poor air quality. And with commuting time shaved from hours to seconds, you are presumably more efficient. We also know that being able to arrange your home office to suit your own style of work helps increase productivity and motivation. Of course, every business model and building is different considering varying landforms, roads, architecture, floor plans and compass directions. But all truly successful home-based businesses use Feng Shui principles to balance homeostasis with energetic growth and change.
Here are nine simple ideas you can implement on your own:
1. If you work from home, try to keep your business and personal life as separate as possible. It is best to have a dedicated office or area in your home for work, and ideal if there is a separate entrance, door or screen to that space. Use the door to indicate whether you are open or closed for business (even if you have no visitors) so that you can distinguish between the two. When the day is done, close the door and leave your work behind.
2. Office locations near the front door of your home or in rooms that jut out from the main footprint of the building are good for getting your name out there and attracting new clients. Creative businesses need windows and natural light for inspiration and yang energy. If your space lacks windows, hang artwork or photos of landscapes or moving water to help bring the outdoors in.
3. Use my Feng Shui for Business Bagua of the five elements as a guide for deliberately arranging space in your office. A useful tool for setting furniture, equipment and artwork, this map represents all the possibilities your business has to offer and reminds you to cover all bases. Readers are invited to go to my blog for a free copy.
4. In Feng Shui, proper furniture arrangement is critical for offices. Arrange your desk and workspace so that you have a solid wall behind you and a clear view of the door while seated. There should be more open space in front of your desk than behind it in order for chi to gather and disperse. If by necessity you are seated with your back to the entrance, place a mirror on or above your desk to reflect the door and incoming opportunities. (See Feng Shui for the Office)
5. Everything you see influences how you feel about your work. Choose wall art and decorative objects that say something about your vision and goals, rather than using leftover household items. Pictures that are too dynamic (yang) for your living space might be appropriate in your office if you are trying to sell a product or services to others. For example, images of waterfalls, hot air balloons, busy cityscapes and soaring vistas keep energy moving and will be inspirational and uplifting in your business.
6. Avoid eating meals, reading or watching television in your office. Family photos, memorabilia, games, sports or other personal distractions might lead you off course during the day, so keep them out of sight during work hours.
7. Since it is easy to lose track of time when you work from home, set a regular schedule for work that includes logical hours of operation. Avoid taking calls in the early morning or evening hours and leave the power cord behind if you do bring your laptop into the living room at night. This will serve as a reminder when it’s time to take a break.
8. People who commute to work have downtime in the car, train or bus at the beginning and end of each day to transition between professional and personal time. If you work from home, take a walk outside or run errands before and/or after work to clear your mind and set aside the problems of the day. And because it is easy to feel isolated working from home, be sure to engage in activities away from home in the community to lend a new perspective.
9. Because you can, play music. Studies have shown that listening to uplifting background music helps to stimulate the brain and create a regular flow of energy around you. Living plants filter air and help grow your business so be sure to place them in your work environment. Moving water represents prosperity, so include a clear water fountain to help attract new opportunities.
Thank you Diane for these great tips! Find out more about Diane Gallin and read her blog.
Inspiring Nature art by Carl Amoth Photographer
Erica Sofrina is the author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of the Academy of Feng Shui.