Menopause in the workplace
Even in this day and age, many workplaces are oblivious to the consequences that menopause may have for their numerous female employees. I see many women at the top of their careers who are suffering from the effects of menopause and finding it has devastating consequences on their work but who are getting no support from their workplaces. In turn these women feel scared to admit there is a problem or to broach the subject.
A study called Women’s experience of Working through Menopause found that three-quarters of women felt their work had been affected by menopause. Symptoms of poor concentration, tiredness, poor memory and feeling low were widespread but 70% of women had not told their managers they were going through the menopause. The majority of women in the study felt they needed further advice and support. In the study, many women felt little prepared for the arrival of menopause and even less equipped to manage its symptoms at work. Some women said they worked extremely hard to overcome their perceived shortcomings. Women in senior positions frequently feel that their ability to be in control, make decisions and act as a role model for staff is compromised during the menopause and they find themselves questioning their decisions. Women also talk about being misunderstood by colleagues and sometimes being unnecessarily branded as difficult.
What to do if you’re suffering from menopause symptoms at work:
1) Seek medical help! Nearly three-quarters of the women who tried hormone replacement therapy reported that work was one of the main reasons they had decided to try it and 91% said it helped.
2) Complementary therapies also have a big role – nearly half of women had tried complementary approaches and 70% thought complementary therapies were helpful. See my blog : “Which foods and supplements can I try for the menopause?”
2) Talk: you can be sure there will be others who would appreciate the support, and it may well go a long way to educating managers that workplaces need to be designed with menopausal women in mind. A source of support at work might be the occupational help department; do you need the flexibility of working hours and working arrangements? Could simple improvements in workplace temperature and ventilation help? Women’s network groups, blogs, online discussion forums and impartial menopause information organisations can also be an important informal source of support.