Nestling into Nontraditional Workspaces

More and more individuals are working as temps or as independent contractors and they often work in spaces that bear no resemblance to the traditional office — or even the traditional cube.

Many people, especially those in retail or service industries, have to share their workspaces. You may work the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift at the cash register at the corner convenience mart, and someone else comes in and takes over your space at the end of your shift.

Desk-sharing is also quite common. Call centers use this approach routinely — the first shift worker uses the same desk that the second shift worker uses. So neither worker really has a desk to call home.

When you have to share your workspace with other people, your Feng Shui efforts must be done with diplomacy and delicacy — but you can still Feng Shui your workspace.

Working behind the counter

You've got the mustard yellow uniform and the snazzy polyester hat. You've got the cash register in front of you and the warming table behind you. And you're saying, Feng Shui that?

You'll need to check with your boss for the rules, and if he puts the kibosh on hanging crystals from the rafters, try something a little subtler, such as these easily managed moves:

  • Clear the clutter! Keep the area around your register clean and neat, at least while you're working your shift.
  • Add a few personal elements to your workspace while you're working. For example, if you run one of seven cash registers at the grocery store, bring a portable Bagua (an eight-sided figure that symbolizes the energies of different directions).
  • Wear your Feng Shui. A nice crystal bracelet can raise the chi in your work environment, and who could object?

Trucking in your four-wheeled office

Lots of service and sales people, among others, spend most of their waking moments in their cars getting from Point A to Point B. For people who transport goods for a living, their vehicles are their offices.

Hanging ornaments from the rearview mirror is discouraged, as they can interfere with your field of vision and distract you as you drive. Leaving loose objects around is also discouraged, as these can go flying through the air if you have to brake quickly.

So how do you Feng Shui your car? Take a look at the following guidelines:

  • Choose a vehicle color that is more yin (associated with feminine, darkness, rounded shapes, and passive eneergy). This helps balance the yang energy that being in a moving vehicle creates. Red cars have very powerful yang energy. Blue or black are good choices.
  • Keep your automobile clean and free of clutter. The windows should be kept clean and free of dust and grease. Clean those fries out from under your seat, too!
  • Maintain good working order. Rattles and squeaks should be attended to so that you don't feel stressed by them.
  • Use aromatherapy oils. Rosemary and lemon are especially good for helping drivers remain calm and attentive. You can put a handful of potpourri in the ashtray to give your vehicle a pleasant scent.

Donning your hard hat: Factories and warehouses

Helloooooo in there . . . Factories and warehouses seem like the last place Feng Shui is possible — all that vast echoing space, all those conveyor belts, all that lack of personal space.

Feng Shui what you can. If you can't Feng Shui your part of the conveyor belt, then Feng Shui your lunchbox! Feng Shui your locker or even Feng Shui your break room. Two key concepts of Feng Shui work anywhere:

  • Clear the clutter: Almost any workspace benefits from this. Even if it isn't your job to sweep the floor, you can take the initiative and clean up to make a more harmonious workspace.
  • Set your intentions: If you want to reduce the stress you feel when working with your co-workers, but can't do anything to enhance the chi, try this: As you arrive for work in the morning, set your intentions. Tell yourself, "I am going to work hard to get along with my co-workers, because it will make my work life more enjoyable and it may result in bonuses all around." You may be amazed at the difference this can make.

Staking ground temporarily

If you're only going to be working somewhere for a few weeks until someone returns from maternity leave, it may not seem worth the effort to Feng Shui your workspace. But it is. Short-term employees and independent contractors often feel unconnected to their working environment, never really settling in. And feeling unconnected interferes with productivity, makes you restless, and can result in irritability and frustration when dealing with other (especially permanent) employees. That's no way to live, even if only for three weeks!

By applying some of the principles of Feng Shui to your workspace, you take ownership of that space. You feel more welcomed and calm when you're at work; an especially important consideration if any co-workers resent your presence or ignore you.

Before you Feng Shui anything as a temp get permission! You may be working in someone else's workspace, and they might not appreciate the lovely robin's egg blue you painted the walls.

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