Most people spend an enormous number of hours in their workplace. For this reason alone, it is essential to make it a place where people want to be, but also one that promotes physical and emotional health for its inhabitants. Business people normally operate at extreme levels of stress on a day-to-day basis. The amount and level of this stress is a crucial factor in the maintenance of a healthy work environment.

The use of stress as the main motivating factor to meet productivity quotas can become a “double edge sword.” Business goals are met, but at the same time soaring stress levels can cause the demise of a business - one that would have otherwise flourished if managed more effectively.

Stress fosters motivation, creativity, and productivity, yet on the other hand it is destructive to one’s health. According to Chinese medicine physiology, an extreme degree of stress drains the kidney energy of the body leading to fatigue, lack of will power, fear, diminished sexual drive, loss of hair, bone depletion, weakness and pain of the knees and back, and difficulty getting out of bed. The kidney energy can be further depleted from numerous cups of coffee, poor nutrition, too much sex, and not enough sleep. A scenario that is far too familiar for too many people in our culture.

Too much emphasis is put on business outcomes and not enough on the quality of the process along the way.

Incorporating the following suggestions on a consistent basis can help to reverse this pattern. They can result in increase productivity, promote creativity, foster better concentration and at the same time establish a healthier and happier work environment:

* Designate a quiet area in your work environment where people (you) can be alone. This provides a much needed “get away spot” where stress can be released.

* Create a special time during the day for you and your employees to take a quality break. This can be called “Me-Time” when they can do whatever they choose. Bring massage therapists in occasionally during this time to provide on site chair massage.

* Designate an exercise area either inside or outside the work environment. Encourage employees to practice tai chi, Qigong, yoga, or stretching exercises to promote internal awareness and healing. A little bit of exercise can go a long way, especially in the middle of a work day. Recent research has found that employees who exercise twice a week can save their company millions of dollars per year.

* Arrange furniture according to the principles of Feng Shui to create a smooth flow of energy within the work space. This, in turn, further enhances the energy of those working in that space. There are several excellent books on Feng Shui available to help you .

* Arrange for high quality light and fresh, clean air flow within the office. Full spectrum florescent lighting provides healthy lighting, especially during the winter months when there is less light. Consider investing in air cleaners as well. Fresh, clean air brightens the spirit, boost energy and increases brain capacity.

* Keep clutter to a minimum as it helps to maintain a clear, strong mind.

* Strategically place a fish tank, rock garden with flowing water, and/or plants throughout your environment. This brings in hints of nature which has a centering and soothing affect on the body, mind and spirit.

* Play gentle, soothing music when and where appropriate to nurture and calm the heart and spirit.

* Ask people to speak quietly to one another, dissuade argumentative behavior, and outlaw gossip. This Maintains a safe and emotionally supportive environment.

* Honor the individual needs of your employees and clients. This will make them feel appreciated, noticed and that their needs matter.

* Acknowledge yourself and others for daily work contributions. People love hearing that they are doing a good job.

* Ask for truthful and constructive feedback from your staff to make sure they’re happy with how things are going. The more your staff knows that you care about what they feel, the better they will perform their jobs.

* Encourage people to be themselves and respect them for their unique qualities. We all need to be appreciated for who we are.

* Remember and reiterate the belief that there is only so much one can accomplish in a day. This will help you to appreciate what you have done, not fret about what you will do tomorrow anyway.

* Take special measures to help your staff process their feelings in a structured and safe environment. Pent up feelings can be one of the biggest culprits for creating a thick, heavy, negative and thus highly stressful atmosphere at work. Make certain they know you are always there to hear them out.

Remember the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – it certainly applies here. Make the necessary steps to create and maintain a healthy and balanced workplace. Listen to yourself and follow your instincts about your business. The more you can trust this process, the better your business will work. Caring for your employees and yourself in an professional and genuine way can only create more gratification and positive outcomes for your business. There is nothing like a healthy business, inside and out to create a deep sense of satisfaction, worth, and true success.

Author's Bio: 

Shoshanna Katzman is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20 Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy, Avery/Penguin Group USA, October, 2003 along with a companion DVD and video produced by Swing Pictures, LLC. She has been a Tai Chi and Qigong practitioner since 1974 and Director of the Red Bank Acupuncture and Wellness Center ( since 1988. Shoshanna is Ambassador and the first woman President of the National Qigong Association ( She is also Secretary of the New Jersey Acupuncture Examining Board, producer of annual women wellness conferences (, and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness Avon Books, 1997. Shoshanna can be reached at 732-758-1800 or visit to view and order her qigong book, DVD, and video.