Before electricity entered the workplace teams sat at their stations facing the same direction to take advantage of sun light to illuminate their tasks. Understanding light sources is critical for creating effective office designs because the body reacts automatically to them and magnetic influence. Geese navigate long distances using magnetic nodes in their skulls. South sea islanders prize their traditional navigators who feel their way to the islands over the horizon. We react to these influences even when we’re not consciously aware of them.
Our GPS and Google maps speak to our conscious, frontal brains, but the primal brain where emotions and fight or flight live navigates by the cardinal (light source) and magnetic (particle based) directions. The glandular system times the body’s cycles to the electromagnetic fields of the Sun and Moon and growth and healing cycles depend on them. The body grows in Solar cycles and heals in Lunar cycles. Without you realizing it your body leans against the current of magnetic particles flowing from the North to the South Pole. How does that affect you sitting at your desk?
Working in Unison
Setting up work spaces where your whole team faces the same direction encourages a shared sense of mission and responsibility. Look at the most popular team sports which emerged from this ancient tradition, teams line up side by side facing the other teams aiming the opposite way. In the past this contributed to companies being more cohesive with a greater sense of loyalty resulting in employment longevity. These are qualities that Japanese businesses still embody where meetings normally take place with everyone on the same side of the table and groups of desks often face the same part of the compass.
That doesn’t mean that our modern system of the free-wheeling office with desks face multiple directions is wrong. It encourages individual thinking and alternate points of view as well as entrepreneurship. It also means that your employees are more inclined to strike out on their own, hopefully not taking your customers with them, but I wouldn’t count on that.
Ralph & Lahni speak at conventions and conferences in the San Francisco Bay Area on the topics of the 'Dynamic Work Place', 'Staying Healty @ Work', and 'Napa & Sonoma, A Love Affair in Maps'. They also run a wine tour company that creates custom tours for Top Achievers and Executives. They work in multiple languages. Please contact them through the form or call 707-235-2648 Pacific Time.