The Empty Desk

The Empty Desk Syndrome
The Empty Desk Syndrome

The Empty Desk

What happens to productivity when you work beside an empty desk and chair? Are you happy that no one is in ‘your space’? Or, are you aware of the empty void nearby?

In feng shui, even an empty space has a place in time, no matter how inactive it may be. Could you really be affected working beside an empty desk?

In some cases, it depends on the reason why the desk is empty? Predecessor energy is apparent in any inherited furniture, home, car, etc. Did the past occupant retire, or get fired? Did they manage a promotion or is the desk unlucky?

These circumstances are all relevant to your own job performance. Just as living beside an empty house or coming home from an extended holiday, the air can appear to be very ‘dead’. An area void of chi-energy will not support life; and this negative energy does affect you.

The empty desk has a tale to tell, as predecessor chi-energy will be present. This energy can ‘feel’ the past: a strong, hardworking individual, or perhaps failure, worthlessness and devaluation.

Replacement staff can fall to the same fate, in exactly the same pattern. There could be a clue that something is very wrong; either the negative-chi needs to be cleared out or the configuration in the office needs to be strengthened.

On another note, an employee that was well liked and took the initiative to move along, leaves a different sentiment in his wake; one of confidence and purpose.

If the desk area does not get reassigned soon, you’ll find dead energy will start to accumulate more dead things. It will become storage or a holding area for items. A pile of reports waiting to be filed, will get cleared from another desk and placed on the vacant desk ‘for now’; and end up taking residence.   Miscellaneous items will also land on this vacant space. If a guest speaker comes into the office, you may be embarrassed to offer him/her the vacant desk, as it doesn’t appear to be ‘welcoming’ or positive anymore.

Hmm… and you wonder why HR can’t fill the chair?

-Because nobody lives here anymore!

If you are seated next to this vacant office/pod/desk it is important for you to protect yourself. (I use the word ‘protect’ as this is exactly the best word.) I also recommend these tips for people working next to others with negative energy:

  • Clear up the clutter on your desk first; you don’t want to breed more messes or collect ‘negative clutter’.
  • Imply an alternate life source: Place a plant on your desk on the side of the dead energy. Pictures of plants, animals or fish can represent a life force.
  • A multi-faceted lead crystal can ‘absorb and refract’ negative energy. Hang a 30mm-40mm orb with a red string between your desk and the empty desk is a great buffer. More discretely, placing the crystal in its own dish/tray, can work just the same way. (Not hidden under papers and files.) Place the dish on the side that needs protection.
  • In more extreme cases, place a floor plant (if possible) between you and the dead energy. Hanging items overhead such as a larger crystal, wind chimes or wind sock can certainly ‘distract’ negative energy from settling on your desk.

In the meantime, try to spend a few minutes each week clearing the stuff that accumulates in the neighbouring desk. You may note that this is not your job, but, this negative energy does affect you. Your efforts will be paid back by making this spot appealing for the next person to come in, bringing positive energy to the team.

Your success is riding on how pro-active you are… handling negative energy.


Kathryn of Kathryn Wilking Designs is an Author, Teacher and Feng Shui Consultant. Her recent book; Practical Feng Shui for the Office, is available in e-book and paperback. Check out or

Kathryn is available for innovative talks at workshops and Lunch ‘n Learn programs. Contact her to discuss a topic for your team:

Learn more about Practical Solutions for Life at