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Dealing With the Realities of Workplace Bullying

Did you ever have to deal with a schoolyard bully? If so, then you probably have bad memories of the taunting and teasing. Now that you are all grown up, though, bullies are a thing of the past—or are they?

Workplace Options recently conducted a survey that reveals bullies are alive and well—in the workplace! Indeed, 47 percent of workers say they have witnessed, or know someone who has been a victim of workplace bullying. What’s more, 31 percent say they have personally been a victim of bullying in the office.

What is workplace bullying? In many ways, it’s much like the bullying you remember from the schoolyard. The simplest definition is when individuals or groups use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate.

Workplace bullying may manifest as verbal, non-verbal, psychological or physical abuse and humiliation. According to the survey, 38 percent of respondents feel verbal abuse, including disrespect and malicious rumors, is the most debilitating form of bullying in the workplace, followed closely by harassment from superiors, at 23 percent.

“When individuals are treated negatively at work, it can significantly affect their ability to concentrate or function in a healthy and productive manner,” says Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. “Many employees may be uncomfortable or embarrassed discussing this abuse with their direct supervisor or HR director. If an employer can offer a third party for the individual to use as a sounding board, it may give them the confidence they need to speak up.”

So how do you deal with workplace bullying? The survey reveals that individuals are more likely to report incidents of bullying if they can speak to a third party source as opposed to someone internal to the company. Specifically, when individuals witness a co-worker being bullied, 37 percent say they are not comfortable discussing the incident with human resources or their supervisor. However, if an employer were to offer assistance dealing with a bully in the form of a third party, 65 percent would take advantage of this service.

In another significant finding, more than 90 percent of respondents believe workplace bullying can cause feelings of frustration and hopelessness, panic or anxiety about going to work, and physical symptoms such as an inability to sleep or loss of appetite. According to the survey, half of respondents do not think their employer takes appropriate measures to discourage and reprimand bullies, or are unsure if any measures are taken.

“If employers do not ensure that workplace bullies are acknowledged and held accountable for their actions, members of their staff may begin to suffer mental and emotional damage,” says Alan King, president and COO of Workplace Options. “The quickest way to identify a bully is to provide your employees with an outlet to report the abuse, whether they are a witness or a victim.”

Check out this video on workplace bullying:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/user/BullyingInstitute?blend=7&ob=5#p/u/0/Xg8b74ffwpY"width="100%" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Schedulicity Offers 7 Facebook Fan Page Tips

Need a Small Business Loan? Try Office Depot.

Headline after headline decries the challenge of small business owners seeking loans.

Only 56 percent of small businesses that tried to obtain a loan got all or most of what they needed, according to a recent edition of the Office Depot Small Business Index. However, America's small business community still remains intent on obtaining the finances needed to grow their business: 30 percent of small business owners say they are researching more ways to expand their business.

Office Depot is coming to the rescue in a new partnership with the nation’s leading Small Business Administration lender. Office Depot inked a deal with Superior Financial Group to offer qualified small business customers access to capital. Small businesses can apply for SBA loans between $5,000 and $25,000.

"Small businesses are the engine of our economy. We believe this 'express' loan program will be just what these business owners need to help jump-start the economic recovery for America," says Monica Luechtefeld, executive vice president of Global E-Commerce for Office Depot. "We hope the small business community will take advantage of this opportunity to obtain a loan and get access to the funds they need to start, run, and grow their business."

This is the first time Office Depot has offered an official small business loan program. The goal is to help small businesses stretch their budgets so they can make the investments they need to grow their business and hire new employees. Here’s how it works:

Customers can apply for a loan by visiting www.officedepot.com/sba.

  1. A one-page online application can pre-qualify you in seconds.

  2. There is no application fee for this loan.

  3. Customers who are approved for a small business loan will receive 10 percent discount off their loan origination fee.

  4. The terms of the loan repayment will be over a period of eight years to help keep monthly payments low.

  5. There is no penalty for early repayment.

So, if you need a small business loan and haven’t had luck with other options, this might be worth a shot. Of course, Office Depot is hoping you’ll spend some of that money on the supplies they sell, but no purchase is necessary.

How Small Businesses Can Land Major Corporate Clients

Major corporate clients. I’ve got them. From Microsoft to PR Newswire to Ryder to Pitney Bowes, I work with plenty of major corporate clients. And so can your small business.

“Unfortunately, many small business owners and independent consultants shun the idea of attracting corporate clients, whether it’s because they just left the corporate world or because they believe they can’t really reach people through the corporate world,” says Bernadette Doyle, a marketing coach. “But the fact is, landing just one corporate client can pay the bills for months to come and give an entrepreneur the ability to reach a huge number of people all at once.”

The fact is corporate clients are spending money—and lots of it—with small vendors. In fact, a recent study discovered that the largest companies in the world spend a combined $1 trillion with third-party companies. So the question is, how can your small business tap into this revenue stream? You might try taking Doyle’s advice. She’s helped others tap into this profitable flow.

Doyle is offering a free online workshop called “How To Attract Corporate Clients” on Thursday, July 7. This is a 90-minute class that will cover such topics as:

  • How to “get your foot in the door” without cold calling, networking, or waiting for referrals

  • Why “small” doesn’t have to be a disadvantage when approaching large companies (and actually has a number of hidden advantages if entrepreneurs know how to play it the right way)

  • Why cold calling can kill your small business—and the strategies you need to use for maximum growth instead

  • How to play and win the “internal politics” game

  • How to shorten the sales cycle

If you can’t make that online seminar, check out this Wall Street Journal article, with tips that include: (1) Make sure you're reaching out personally, (2) Partner with complementary businesses, and (3) Hire well-connected talent.