Globe and Mail – Feng Shui Finds a Fan in the Boardroom

Globe and Mail, January 11, 1999

Excerpts from “Feng Shui Finds a Fan in the Boardroom”

Margot Gibb-Clark, Workplace Reporter, Toronto

The renovation under way in the offices of [Name Withheld Corporation] involves a fountain in the boardroom, a rock garden – and Monday morning meetings for staff to get to know one another better.

The [withheld] firm, one of Canada’s largest, is using the principles of the Chinese art of Feng Shui in its makeover. Thousands of years old and based on Taoism, Feng Shui involves placing objects to create an environment conducive to the realization of peoples’ goals and dreams.

When [Name Withheld], one of [Name Withheld Corporation]‘s managing partners, first proposed the idea, his colleagues thought he was out of his mind. But once they had read about Feng Shui, they began to think that a feeling of greater energy in the office would make employees feel more productive. The timing seemed right, says the firm’s founder, [Name Withheld]. Although the company has been very successful, it had reached a plateau, and he was wondering how to get beyond it.

After architect and Feng Shui practitioner Malca Narrol had spent two days “interviewing staff and the building,” as she describes it, they were impressed enough with her comments to go ahead. “We were absolutely astonished by her astute observations,” Dr [Name Withheld] says. “All of a sudden people started to take this seriously.”

One remark in particular sticks in his mind: When Ms. Narrol came into the office, she said she had no idea of the company’s product. It could have been anything from an art dealer – Dr [Name Withheld] has lined the walls with art – to a tissue maker. For a company whose motto is “making a difference in peoples’ lives,” that wasn’t good news. Senior staff began to feel that with the company having expanded to 250 employees and 1,000 others on contract, they had lost the opportunity to connect with one another that came so naturally when it was a fledgling.

“We’ve gotten very large and have functional areas which are quite distinct,” says Ms. [Name Withheld], vice-president of operations. “There’s no opportunity to connect as a whole any more. Everything I do involves dealing with people… [deleted],” she says, “yet inside the company, we weren’t connecting in a way that we could come away and feel inspired.”

After hearing Ms. [Name Withheld] reveal her concerns at a staff meeting and learning that her background was in counselling and training, Ms. Narrol proposed the Monday morning meetings. “I use Feng Shui to inspire people,” she explains. For her, it is about the energy of people as well as of space.  She believed the meetings could help staff correct something in their work lives. “Part of my job is to read who will like what and find appropriate solutions.”

 Ms. Narrol’s recommendations also include a fountain in the boardroom, as well as frosted lobby windows so people don’t step off the elevator and look right through the boardroom to the outside world. The boardroom is used for key meetings, she explains, and it cannot be as nurturing a place if people walk into the office and see right through it. In Feng Shui terms, energy is leaving the building too quickly, which creates a certain stress and rush for inhabitants.

For now, most efforts will be focused on head office, but Dr [Name Withheld] says he would like to have them gradually radiate out to the 100 or so small leased offices across the country that the company uses for [withheld].

Feng Shui takes differing amounts of time to produce results, Ms. Narrol says. But she predicts they will come more quickly at [Name Withheld] offices based on staff enthusiasm. “[deleted…] When your whole space is different all around you, you can’t forget it.”

Contact us today for your commercial feng shui needs