IT department in need of feng shui

IT departments and suppliers are the most urgent candidates for feng shui, according to a former IT manager who became so...

IT departments and suppliers are the most urgent candidates for feng shui, according to a former IT manager who became so convinced of the benefits of the Chinese philosophy that he gave up his career to train as a specialist consultant, writes John Kavanagh.

Since then Tom Coxon has advised whole departments, and even helped a systems company and retailer to increase sales.

Feng shui is aChinese system of knowledge, thought to be about 5,000 years old. It charts energy flows and how these affect buildings and people. In the business world it is used to boost productivity, reduce stress and improve relationships between colleagues.

"Feng shui is widely used by business in the Far East, and increasing numbers of companies in the West are now becoming interested," Coxon says.

"Not so long ago, business people took a rather sceptical view towards anything that wasn't the corporate line, but today big companies such as Virgin and Arthur Andersen are using feng shui to improve working conditions."

He continues, "IT suppliers and users are among the worst culprits of poor feng shui, with working areas full of hardware sending out radiation, often making offices oppressive and unbalanced.

"By taking a fresh approach to the way people work, and to office positioning and colour, feng shui can realign these factors and create a more harmonious working environment. Typical measures might range from something as simple as moving the manager's desk, to moving the whole department, and introducing colour and light in a new way."

Coxon originally trained as a systems programmer and was in senior IT management at British Gas when he became interested in feng shui.

"My in-laws in Malaysia first got me interested," he says. "I read widely before training as a consultant with a feng shui master in the Midlands. It's taken about five years, and even now I'm constantly learning more."

In 1995 he formed Thomas Coxon Associates to promote awareness of feng shui, and now works with IT companies across the UK.

A&J Computers called on his services in March, after expanding into bigger premises. "We'd heard very interesting reports from friends and decided to give it a try, because we were moving into a building with a poor retail history and we wanted the best possible start," says manager Andrew Hudson.

"Since we implemented the changes that Tom suggested, we have had a really positive response from customers. People often tell us there is a relaxed atmosphere which makes them feel at ease," Hudson says. "In some ways, the experience has been rather like having a super interior design job. I'd certainly recommend it."

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