By Kathryn Weber
In today’s right sized, merged and acquired workplaces, not to mention dismal job outlook reports in the news, it’s hard to find much to be excited or positive about in the office. It’s put a lot of people on edge – and that edge shows up in our work relationships. From snippy coworkers to overbearing bosses, to the downers that pull everyone into a depressing funk or the side-winders who slink in to hiss out some unverified piece of gossip, it’s all we can do to remain calm and carry on.
But there’s something you can do to create better workplace relationships and harmony in the office, and that something is feng shui. It might not be the first thing that comes to your mind for improving your workplace relationships, but it’s an indirect way to create a subtle goodwill without the fat and calories of bringing in doughnuts every day.
Create the feeling
One of the most potent ways to affect your workplace colleagues is to create the kind of environment you most want to work in. That means your office or cubicle should be relaxing, comfortable and attractive. Bring in a plant, play some soothing music and make your office a place where people (and you) enjoy being. What happens is that environment of relaxation you create in your office spills over, and others will notice it, and hopefully, emulate it.
Want to make everyone in the office happy? Have a bowl of snacks, especially items like chocolate and cinnamon on a nearby desk or credenza. Chocolate and cinnamon are yang flavors that stimulate and create positive and energetic, happy feelings. Opt for the candies that are in small snack packs and individually wrapped versus an open container where the office flu bug can make an appearance and no one will look accusatorily at you if it does. Or offer up a really nice hand lotion in a big size meant for sharing. People will have soft feelings for you as they walk away rubbing their hands together, the body part associated with the intellect and decisions.
Apples are one of the most feng shui friendly fruits around. Their name, “ping,” in Chinese means peace. A bowl full of red and green apples at the front of the office or in the break room is a great way to spread the feeling of care, health and nurturing. After all, the old saw that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” will make everyone feel cared for. See if your company will offer to pay for a regular supply of this healthful fruit that could just inspire a more peaceful place of work.
Another simple yet effective way to improve relationships is simple desk arrangement. When people work side by side, they’re more effective. But when they’re faced in opposing directions, that’s when opposition occurs. Try to align your desk so that you can see the door easily and comfortably, even if you’re in a cubicle. To improve your relationship with a boss, make sure that wherever your desk is placed, even if it’s across the building, that you are not turned to face your boss. It’s better if your boss is behind you if at all possible, so that you aren’t in a challenging position.
Lastly, look to color to help tone down relationships or perk them up. If you’re a man, consider wearing a pink or rose colored tie instead of red, and just see how the women respond. Pink is a sentimental color that feels warmer and more caring than bright red which can anger some people. If your office is lackluster and depressing, wear bright colors, especially reds, fuchsias and oranges. This will help to stimulate more energy and invigorate the office. If tensions are high and employees are on edge, opt for black, navy and darker colors to help tone down the anxiety.
© 2013 Kathryn Weber, all rights reserved