Configuring Your Office Layout

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In this issue, CHRIS YEO discusses office layout and urges a move away from the conventional centipede or railway track design. He offers alternative ideas to designing office arrangements that are more conducive to harmonious chi and for promoting better employee relations in the workplace.

The design of office environment can take inspiration from many different shapes and formations. What is most commonly found in offices are what the feng shui experts refer to as the centipede arrangement, that looks very much like railway tracks. This layout is very effective for saving space. It is also a very practical way of arranging seating arrangements according to categorization of staff. However from a feng shui viewpoint, this arrangement can be detrimental to the working environment. It creates a certain tension to the chi of the space, resulting in friction between staff and causing gossiping and politicking.

This arrangement also creates a claustrophobic environment, since every direction anyone face causes them to be in confrontation with a neighbour. The rigidly tight lines of the table arrangements are not conducive to a smooth flow of energy and movement around the office.

Other related effects of this office layout could result in people sitting at their tables without any form of support. This happens when they sit with their back to corridors or windows. The segregation of personnel in this environment is rigid and leads to an unfriendly solemn working atmosphere. Why not deviate from the conventional approach and investigate new ideas that incorporate feng shui conventions into office layout design? Consider your office as not just a room for working, but regard it instead as a space for interaction between staff and clients – a space that generates a sense of harmony, friendliness and most importantly, where the energies are always inspired and creative. This benefits the company enormously.

The Winding Path Simulates The Dragon

Consider A Winding Traffic Flow
Design a pathway that simulates the presence of the auspicious dragon.(see main picture above) You can do this by using the floor carpet to create a river that can also be regarded as the ‘path of the dragon’. If you have a larger budget you can use tiles, pebble wash or even marble – it depends on how elaborate you want the dragon path to be. Remember that the grander the dragon, the greater the likelihood of him bringing wealth and prosperity.

Consider Changing The Design Of Table Layouts
Modular table arrangements offer flexibility in the creation of workspace. One great design is the four-leaf clover arrangement not just because it symbolizes good fortune, but more than that, it offers several “facing directions” to maximize the use of KUA formula feng shui which enables you to seat staff according to the direction best suited for them.

Consider Incorporating Auspicious Symbols
Be creative when designing your office theme. One suggestion: how about a carpet design that has a rainbow leading to a pot of gold that ends where your finance people sit. Or how about incorporating an auspicious sailing ship bringing gold and opportunities to your office coming from the most auspicious direction of every year. Or from a direction that spells success for the owner or CEO.

Consider Auspicious Sitting & Facing Directions Your Staff
For management staff, it is best to have them face their Sheng Chi or wealth direction. And for lower or entry level staff to have them face their Fu Wei or personal development direction to benefit them. With a flexible layout plan, you can reorient table arrangements to create maximum good feng shui for all your staff.

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Consider The Auspicious 8 Formation

Creating a figure 8 pattern allows personnel to sit with their backs to each other all sharing a central display podium. This arrangement allows privacy for each sector while simultaneously creating a shared central interaction zone. This office arrangement is perfect for departmental or project based systems as it allows interdepartment interaction, yet offers privacy for each department.

Consider The Hybrid Design
Best is to create an office layout to suit your needs. Determine the areas to allocate for management and staff of the different departments. As illustrated, to the right, the lower zone is for management personal with ample personal space and privacy and with one entry point. The upper tables are separated into a project-based system on the right hand side, while a more open concept table design on the left is dedicated to operations or clerical staff. Any kind of table formation can be generated depending on function or space.

Be sure to create an auspicious flow through the office using carpets, wood or tiles. Make sure all staff sit facing their auspicious directions. Create modular table designs that do not force people to be in confrontation with each other. Use table arrangements to create zones, yet always maintain the auspicious flow of people movement. This is what creates good chi energy.