Greening your office space is also about creating the right “peace” of mind. Read on for tips and inspiration.
Why is it that your office colleague, once so sweet, now grates on your nerves? How could it be the long bus ride to the office, which used to be a relaxing hour to catch up on reading, is now your biggest waste of time? Why did the last staff meeting end in tears? You wonder, “Is it me, them or just the office?”
There are things you can do on both the physical and mental levels to connect the spirit, mind and body at work to effect positive change – which can lead to us treading gentler on Planet Earth. Life is precious and everyone wants their work hours (usually most of your day) to be filled with love, compassion, respect and fulfillment. It can be hard sometimes though. Working with spirit and keeping peace in the office can be like walking a tightrope, especially in the Western world where work is associated with ‘having to do…’ or just as a means to make money.
Unlike time spent in prayer or while meditating, time at the office is not measured by spiritual epiphanies but metered by real-world results. Often the situation is that someone is paying you to do something and you have a responsibility to get that task done to the best of your abilities.
While you may have already adopted mind-body balancing techniques, chances are your boss won’t like it if you extend your coffee break to practice Thai Chi in the sun.
But you don’t have to search too deep into your soul to make some very basic improvements to the health and well-being of you and your office workmates.
First of all consider your work environment.
Is there enough natural light in the office, and can you replace fluorescent lights with full spectrum light bulbs? Is there fresh air? Does everyone agree that soothing music could be played in the background? Have you finally tackled ways to sort out the office clutter and the tangled mess of wires connecting to all the technological equipment?
We’ve all heard about the benefits of Feng Shui in one’s home. But at work, a place where one might spend the majority of their most productive hours, Feng Shui also has its importance.
Angi Ma Wong who wrote Feng Shui Dos & Taboos offers some office-healthy tips.
Ma Wong says, keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support and don’t face away from the door if you are conducting business from a home office. “Business will symbolically come to you through the door, so don’t turn your back on it,” she says.
Do put your computer in the North or West area of the office, if possible, to enhance your creativity; it should be situated in the Southeast if it is used to generate income. Other income generating tactics include the use of an aquarium or tabletop fountain to activate business and career success.
“Keep mirrors from your office,” says Ma Wong, as they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room. And treat your files and office equipment with respect; keeping the cords to your office equipment well hidden will “eliminate clutter and allow for the free flow of chi.”
Another book, Office Feng Shui: Creating Harmony in Your Work Space by Darrin Zeer offers on-the-go and quick help guide sections for Feng Shui in the office.
“Office Feng Shui is a pleasure to read,” says one reviewer. “It’s a fantastic gift for co-workers or for yourself. It will help you rediscover the peace of mind and calm your hectic life lacks.”
Put plants to work!
Invest in some plants to clean pollutants from the air: Peace Lilies, Parlour Palms and Dracaena Janet Craig are the most potent ones.
Essential oils can be used to stimulate the brain and to give you physical benefits. For instance lavender is reportedly helpful in increasing productivity in your office.
Once you have the office flowing with positive energy, it’s time to think about your physical self. How can you be kind to your work mates if you are cranky from sitting in the same position for the last 5 hours? Take a break, every hour, even if it is to just stand or stretch your arms. Every few hours go outside and take a 10-minute walk to invigorate your body and get the blood flowing.
To avoid eyestrain, stretch your eyes too. Look into the horizon from a window to let your eyes focus on your long-range goals.
Desktop Yoga: The Anytime, Anywhere Relaxation Program by Julie Lusk is perfect for Internet addicts, office slaves and stressed out students.
“Just like your computer screen needs a screen-saver to keep it from burning out, your body needs a body-saver … so you aren’t victimized and tortured by your work,” writes yoga instructor Lusk, who dedicates her book to “mouse potatoes.”
Fisk adapts hatha yoga principles of breathing and posture to be done in a chair. In her book, she presents stretches and movements, organized by body parts. Have you ever thought about the Infinity Neck Stretch by drawing an infinity sign (sideways figure “8”) with your nose and eyes? There are many more…
Rekindle your spirits
Another approach to keeping the office space healthy is taken by Howard Schechter who wrote Rekindling The Spirit in Work.
Schechter uses narrative examples and creative exercises to help readers find inspiration in their work. “It urges us to discover the higher self as the real source of spirit in work and thus the best perspective from which to conduct our life in relation to work,” explains the forward of the book.
Howard Schechter’s exercises teach people how to handle material as it naturally unfolds in the workplace – from moment to moment. His live workshops show how a group of work colleagues interacting together is the main tool for “assisting the development of individual awareness, facilitating healing and growth, and helping the group to be a rich environment for individual development,” says Schechter’s website.
Participants, it continues, will learn how to assist each other’s growth within the group context: how to use conflict and cooperation to deepen relationships, and how to read group signals and promote the health of the whole system. In his workshops, Schechter garners techniques from gestalt practice, process oriented psychology, authentic movement, art therapy, the diamond approach, and the circle techniques of native peoples.
With tact and respect
At the end of the day, keep in mind that any changes, subtle or extreme, done to a shared office space need to be done with tact and respect. You can’t expect all of your co-workers to appreciate your choice of essential oils, the deployment of a “lion pose” yoga move as a new client walks in, or the installation of new water fountains.
Sometimes the best and simplest way to keep good spirits in the office is by giving encouragement and thanks, where due. It could mean that a small note of appreciation, or the giving of your time will make all the difference in the (office) world.
Above image via pe5pe