There can be a variety of things involved in difficult work relations, be it the relationship between boss and employee or between co-workers.
For instance, personality clashes, differences in working styles, and issues arising from disparities in communication, native language and culture. If all factors have been addressed and solutions have failed, exploring the fung shui of your workplace may provide some insights.
Where you sit relative to your boss can have major ramifications. Plenty of offices have a layout where the manager sits in an office behind clear glass What this means is that, at any given time, he can glance up from his work and see whether or not his employees are working or abusing their working hours.
While this layout is effective in that it minimises employees slacking off - for instance, sending personal e-mails or surfing the net - it also creates anxiety among the workforce. The resulting atmosphere is a tense one.
In the layout mentioned, it's not just employees who are vulnerable. The transparency of his or her office means that the boss becomes vulnerable as well.
But first, to guard against the vulnerability of employees, privacy screens may provide one solution. To ensure efficient operations, the screens should be opaque and no higher than mid-chest level, when standing.
Such screens should offer employees a feeling of security yet prevent them feeling trapped or imprisoned.
The boss may also benefit, directly or indirectly, from an office where fung shui principles have been observed. Relationships are multi-directional, and a boss, like an employee, may perform under par due to his environment.
For instance, shades or plants can shield a boss from the gaze of his employees (see Figure 1) with the result that he is more relaxed and, therefore, in a better state of mind to lead and perform. If the executive office is located in one of the negative sectors of 2011, this could also have a bearing on work relationships.
According to fung shui's Flying Stars school, this year's illness sector lies in the south, while the arguments and aggression sector lies in the north. What this means is that if the executive suite lies either to the north or the south, the boss may be prone to illness or poor relationships with colleagues.
To counter the effect, various steps can be taken (see Figure 2).
The illness sector is represented by negative earth energy so, according to lore, metallic objects (such as coins and ornaments) can be placed there. The mindful positioning of a wu lou, gourd or calabash can also be used to positive effect.
Meanwhile, the aggression sector is represented by the wood element. Negative aspects of this element can be diminished by fire element objects, including anything red in colour, such as predominantly red pictures or red-hued soft furnishings like cushions or seat covers.