Officially Zen

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of zen and how it can be applied in the workplace. It all started when I was helping my mate Brianna move house and we found an old book behind her long-stationary bookshelf, called Zen and the Art of Making a Living. It sets out various thoughts on how we can engage playfully with building a career, an activity that many (if not most) people tend to regard as a bit stressful.

I’ve been interested for a long time in applying these kinds of precepts in the home, but had kind of figured that there’s not much room for them in the workplace. Why not, though? Work environments are every bit as much a part of life as domestic ones; in fact, I’m sure there are plenty of people who spend more time at the office than they do at home, and more time engaging with their clients or colleagues than they do with anyone else. So it seems fitting that we give due attention to making work zones as balanced and harmonious as possible.

It’s interesting to think about how this could translate into practice. I actually made a list of every office fitout specialist Sydney currently has to offer, then systematically browsed through their online portfolios in search of zen-inducing office interiors. Among some of the higher end options, I actually found quite a few examples.

Turns out that good design seems to be naturally aligned with the zen outlook – harmony, balance, proportion, contrast and a general sense of orderly yet stimulating flow are principles that, arguably, can be seen as common to both mindsets. This got me thinking about what else I’d look for if I was going to engage an office interior design company. Sydney isn’t short of them, I’ll tell you that much, so it seems very achievable to select one based on a common underlying sensibility.

For me, I think, that’d be sense of every aspect of a design having a purpose in solving the overarching problem of running a complex business operation harmoniously and successfully.