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The "mean girl" mentality doesn't stop after high school graduation day. Unfortunately for some, once a bully, always a bully. This mean-spirited, often-abusive behavior can carry on into adulthood and squirm its way into offices and boardrooms. While the "mean girl" may think she's tough and intimidating, inside, she's likely insecure and immature.

How to tell if you're being victimized? As per The Balance, ask yourself this, "Do you regularly feel intimidated, dread to work near a particular coworker, or you're yelled at, insulted, and put down? Does a coworker talk over you at meetings, criticize you, or steal credit for your work? If you answer yes to these questions, chances are good that you're one of 54 million Americans who have been attacked by a bully at work."

You may be a self-assured and savvy individual, but when a "mean girl" sets her target and it lands on you, her predatory nature won't be scared off easily. Perhaps the more envious she is of your work ethic and inter-personal relationships with co-workers, the more she will zone in on you to cause trouble.

Just because a "mean girl" lights a fire it doesn't mean you must sit idly by to watch it burn. When ignoring her doesn't work and your job performance and level of comfort is diminishing, it's time to act. Bullies are not bullet-proof and must be put in their place. Use these tips to get the "mean girl" to quit her disruptive and detrimental behavior once and for all. You'll regain your sanity, protect others from future abuse, and perhaps she'll one day reflect on her patterns and actions to make changes for the better.

Keep Your Cool

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Freak out and you'll give the "mean girl" just the reaction she was aiming for. Not only will your reaction excite this bully, but it could cause you to get a bad reputation around the office as well. What to do? As per Fast Company, "Find a way to stay calm and work on your game face. If you show that you're hurt or upset, that's going to make them happy as heck. Stay grounded."

It may take a moment to think before you react, but by keeping composed, you're already ahead of the game. And that's really what this is in her mind… a game. Only now, you're the winner.

Be Straightforward

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If you opt to say something to the "mean girl," make it direct. Don't beat around the bush or communicate anything that is vague. Setting limits is something The Balance strongly advises. "Exercise your right to tell the bully to stop the behavior. Describe the behavior you see the bully exhibiting. Don't say you're mean and nasty to me. Meaningless commentary to a bully. Better? You regularly enter my cubicle, lean over my shoulder, and read my personal correspondence on my computer screen."

The Balance adds that you must make it clear how their behavior is negatively impacting your work and what you are not prepared to deal with any longer.

Keep Accounts and Report

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If bullying is bothering you, you must document the events. As per Fast Company, "Write down what happened and when. Keep detailed accounts of the circumstances, exactly what was said, and who, if anyone, heard or saw it."

Huffington Post adds, "Never leave the documentation in the office." You don't want the "mean girl" to get her hands on it and destroy the evidence or have one of her cohorts get back to her with the damaging information.

Report the situation to your superior or HR. You do not deserve this treatment and must put an end to it. According to U.S. News & World Report, "HR is specifically designed to handle these kinds of complaints. They understand the potential legal ramification if the situation escalates. Describe what is happening in detail and explain how the situation is impacting your ability to do your work. It's important to stress that you want to find a productive, comfortable way of addressing the situation."

"Mean girls" are not powerful enough to block your success. Deal accordingly and take the high road. She certainly won't be walking there!

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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