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Maintaining the appearance of productivity in the workplace

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Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:49 am

You know about productive workspaces and productive systems, but how about productive clothing and productive body size?

Your Wardrobe

Most of us are familiar with the idea of feng shui in building and decorating. However, feng shui principles also extend to wardrobe in the use of colors. For feng shui practitioners, clothing is very important. To generate the right energy for the right circumstances, you need to choose correctly.

In this sphere, clothing can also be positive or negative, providing success-focused energy or draining energy, giving added meaning to “Dress for Success.”

Here are some of the basic energy-matching colors:

1. Want to accomplish a lot with few distractions? Use neutrals. They help you blend in quietly.

2. Having a very active, upbeat day? Pick out the bright colors.

3. Need to display control? Wear dark colors with a fitted design.

4. Working at a more leisurely pace? Choose a loose fit with light colors for creative energy and interaction.

5. Need confident energy? Select black to absorb all energy.

6. Secure in yourself and want to be noticed? Red gives out that message.

7. In sales? Green is money energy, and earth tones help you connect.

8. High stress days? Blue is calming.

9. Social situations? Now is the time for prints and florals. These should stay out of the workplace because they show out-of-control energy.

10. Low energy? White is draining, so just use it as a contrast color.

The test is at the end of the day is to ask yourself if:

• You felt good about yourself.

• You accomplished what you had wanted to do.

If something seemed out of alignment during the day, could it be a clothing mismatch?

Your Weight

Once you have your colors, the next productivity question may be, “How do my clothes fit?” There is constant reference now to an obesity epidemic. Michelle Obama is focusing on the issue among our school children. Yet, there is an issue beyond the health and lifestyle factors, and that is the problem of obesity with regard to productivity in the workplace.

According to a presentation at the Obesity Society’s annual conference, overweight people are less productive than their thin counterparts because:

• They are more likely to be unhealthy and so take more time off.

• When at work, they are producing less.

Here are some numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Obesity Society, with data collated for past years (and we know the numbers continue to rise):

• $1,429: Additional money obese people spent on medical compared with normal weight in 2006.

• $12.8 billion: Annual losses to U.S. business from absenteeism because of the overweight problem.

• $30 billion: Estimated annual losses to U.S. businesses from reduced productivity due to obesity.

• $2.8 billion: Additional gas in autos (bought in 2005) caused by extra body weight in vehicles (vs. 1960).

We certainly never want to discriminate in the workplace, and empathy for those with problems shows both a caring work environment and a compassionate society. However, when companies are already working with a “lean” work force, those numbers can make a difference in hiring the best fit for the job.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of “Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey.” She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or

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