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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Decrease Office Stress by Design: Increase Positivity and Productivity

May 05, 2015 11:04PM ● By Catherine Avery

Stress is everywhere. Work, home and the economy are just some of the major stressors in our lives. According to the American Psychological Association’s The Impact of Stress study in 2012, 80 percent of respondents indicate that “their stress level has increased or stayed the same in the past year.” The study found that work is the second producer of stress right behind money for 65 percent of respondents.

Many would agree that stress levels drop the moment you walk in the front door of your home; it is a sanctuary, a place that supports and nurtures. Your home may be personalized with your hobby, your children’s artwork on the fridge, or a yoga or game room. However, offices tend to be forgotten when it comes to design for stress reduction. Having an office environment that supports you can help alleviate stress levels while on the job.

In feng shui, energy is referred to as qi or chi. The goal of feng shui is to activate the positive chi in your home or office, heal (or cure) the negative chi, and create an environment that supports you in your life goals and dreams. If you are surrounded by meaningful objects, they will increase your energy in a positive way. If you are buried under piles of paper in a soul-less work space, the clutter and the lack of personalization is going to drag you down energetically.

You can bring the home feeling to work in small ways. Start with clearing the clutter from your desk. File away your papers and get in the habit of taking the last five minutes of your day to organize your desk for tomorrow. Add professionally appropriate photos of your family or friends. Create rituals – such as having a cup of tea – that you can touch on when you are feeling stressed.

If you have flexibility in your office layout, face your chair to the entry to your office or cubicle with the wall behind your back. In feng shui, this is your power position, helping you feel supported and in control. Finally, surround yourself with nature. If you are not seated beside a window and aren’t allowed to have plants, bring in a piece of driftwood or a jar of shells, or add a nature painting to the wall.

You spend over half of your waking hours at the office. You deserve to spend that time in a work environment that uplifts your energy and helps you feel productive.

Catherine Avery is a Fairfield County-based interior designer, writer and presenter who delivers peace, comfort and productivity to her clients. With a focus on Feng Shui, space clearing and personal branding, she works with small to mid-size businesses and sole practitioners to design optimal home and office environments. Learn more and connect with her at