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The place matters

Friday, May 15, 2009
By: Anna Sztandera

An average person assesses their workplace on the basis of intuition and common sense. It is a good starting point. Unfortunately, it is usually not sufficient, and sometimes it can even be misleading. The Chinese have been assessing the potential of every territory for ages. They have identified the principles governing the quality of every place and its impact upon the users. They called them feng shui, which means “wind and water”.

The term feng shui in itself is known quite well in Europe. However, this does not mean we understand the real potential of the concept. Popular knowledge in this regard is usually simplified and brought down to flippant and ineffective advices like: paint the walls in this colour, hang a bamboo wind chime there, put an aquarium here with such and such number of fish. Of course, this pseudo feng shui is supposed to work miracles.

These are just a few examples of nonsense often associated with feng shui, which cannot bring any results and which does not belong in the world of classic feng shui. Because of this image, many serious businessmen fail to take advantage of the real potential of feng shui, although this knowledge could bring them substantial benefits. This knowledge, meaning the classical rules, tested empirically, and not the infantile simplifications, quoted above. Another reason to avoid feng shui is the common fear of being ridiculed, of “what my accountant would say”, as well as belief that “I cannot really assess how this works”.

“How this works” is a result of the technique, system and method applied. Since there are many, we should choose the one, which is optimum for a given place (a), time (b), sector (c) and specific people (d). However, the basis - the most significant aspect - is the same for office and private buildings. It is not the objective of my article to present individual theories - these can be learned during feng shui courses. I will present the basic assumptions, which can help a complete amateur to find out what is important, when we assess a given place.

The great significance of the place
Whether we are talking about a private house or an office building, it always has a location. The place exerts a specific impact on the building (therefore, as the address of the company changes, other changes occur as well - sometimes desirable, sometimes not). Each place has its energy (in the Chinese metaphysics, including feng shui, we refer to it as qi - pronounced as chi). Qi can be beneficial or not. A building may attract or generate a good or a bad qi. This can be examined; it is even possible, as I have mentioned earlier, to predict the tendency in time, for specific people and specific types of activity.

The quality of the interior, of what is inside, is the derivative of the quality of the surroundings - never the opposite. In other words, without a good location, there is no good feng shui, and thus the company cannot prosper. Moreover, even the best layout of rooms, people, furniture according to feng shui rules will only be a half measure in unfavourable surroundings, bringing - at best - average results. In short, location is the basis. Therefore, if you are an owner of a company or the person responsible for finding a new location, read carefully the recommendations, listed below.

Usually, the recommended building location is characterised by:

  1. External environment of the building, which has been regularly, evenly developed (a sky-scraper among sky-scrapers, a villa among other villas)

  2. External bright hall which stands for a yard or an open space in front of the main entrance, and the entrance located on the front side of the building

  3. The facing - i.e. the front of the building being active (descending terrain, entrances located here, movement, light, sound, possibly a water reservoir)

  4. The sitting - i.e. the back of the building being calm (silence, peacefulness, ascending terrain, a higher building standing behind, less light)

  5. Left and right embrace - (side wings), providing protection (especially against strong wind, which is a negative factor - dispersing qi, which we want to be concentrated); neighbouring buildings can serve as such wings, but the natural forms (hills) are better

  6. The main entrance, if not located in the front, should be of yang-type - it should be located in a busy place, full of movement and light. The entrance itself should be wide.

  7. In front of the entrance, there should be no negative forms (pillars, chimneys, corners of large buildings, lamp posts, cramped space - no yard),

  8. The company building should be characterised by regular shape (preferably a rectangle); every noticeable missing part is a flaw, which is difficult to compensate; by analysing the rules of feng shui, it is possible to recognise it and work on it.

It is true that the so-called ordinary employees have no influence upon the company location; on the other side, those looking for a job can assess the company atmosphere on the basis of its location. For instance, to examine the situation of the employees, they should study the back of the building particularly carefully. If the back space is too active (which, in exceptional cases, may be desirable), or a corner of another building, equally large or even larger, is pointing towards the back wall of the building, the company is almost sure to suffer from such problems as a high level of rotation and / or conflicts. The details are defined on the basis of the exact geographical location, or its interpretation by an expert.

Take care of the interior
Whether you are a department manager, a director or an ordinary employee, perhaps you can influence what is happening inside the company building. At least, the location of your own desk. Let us start from the beginning, though. Here are the key points when it comes to the characteristics of the interior:

  1. The shape of the office or the entire building or its fragment - regular shape is the best,

  2. The internal bright hall - the hallway after we enter the building, as well as its part leading directly to our premises (e.g. on the floor) should be spacious,

  3. Corridors - they should be short and wide, full of light and high; “tunnels” are not a good solution,

  4. Lot of space (spacious rooms and corridors) - its value is translated to money, but it is worth the investment; the ‘open space’ layout, which is too cramped, is a flaw,

  5. Offices of managers or other decision-makers - should be located in the better part of the office (since there will always be better and worse locations), and should match the person. The desk ought to face the centre of the room, in the direction which is the most beneficial for its user. The back of the desk and the manager's seat should be protected by a wall or a set of shelves, without any pillars, overhangs or sharp edges. The office needs to be spacious and rectangular. Exceptions are permitted, but only in very specific circumstances. If a company is run by one or two persons, and is relatively small, a feng shui analysis of the company owners' private homes is recommended. The place where we sleep bears a strong influence over us and, naturally, affects our performance at work.

  6. Compatibility - yang-type departments, which should be active - e.g. sales or production departments, should be located in yang-type places (this cannot be reliably verified by an amateur - in general, we are talking about the front of the building, places, which are full of light and movement, high rooms are better; in terms of geographical location, two areas are particularly beneficial - south-east and south-west); analogically, yin-type departments, which we want to be quiet and peaceful - archives or analyst offices - should located in yin-type sectors, which are more calm, located in the back, with peaceful surroundings or even a wall of a neighbouring building visible outside the window

  7. In front of the entrance - we want no edges, pillars, columns, stairs - both as we enter and leave (inside and outside a given room)

  8. When we are sitting:
    1. we should have a wall or a window behind us (although it is better if the window is located on a side or in front of us)

    2. we should have open space in front of us (the space of the room occupied)

    3. we should be facing the individually selected direction (each of us belongs to one of the 2 groups, according to which the sectors and geographical directions are divided into more and less favourable)

  9. We should not be sitting
    1. with our back to the door

    2. “in a draught” between the window and the door

    3. with our back to the centre of the room

    4. having a pillar or an edge in front or behind us

    5. diagonally - we should make sure to sit along straight lines

Avoid the traps
When is a good time to assess our company? Whenever encountering a new, unknown place. It is also a good idea, when we want to find out more about our situation (sometimes, the problem is really urgent; in other cases, there are many possibilities or small changes are sufficient; sometimes it is enough to wait a little. Time is of fundamental significance here).

A feng shui consultation is vital, when we consider a new location, a renovation, modification, increasing of office space. It is also necessary, when we are dealing with specific problems and objectives and we want the building walls to “help us”. The site will help the building. Even if we have no influence upon the site, as we recognise its impact, we can prepare an action plan. We have the necessary knowledge in the field. Feng shui will give us additional support, it will help us avoid traps and choose the right moment in time.

Anna Sztandera
Instructor and representative of Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics™ in Poland

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