The menopause doesn’t stop at the door of your office when you walk in. Hot flushes, headaches, anxiety, brain fog, poor concentration, and more can strike at any time, whether you’re working quietly at your desk, chairing a meeting over Teams, or presenting your finished project to your clients.
Frequently women suffer in silence, worried that they won’t be understood, that they’ll be dismissed, or even not believed. For those women who experience severe symptoms, 1 in 4 consider leaving their jobs, with two thirds saying that they had no support at work. With approximately 3.5 million women over 50 in the workplace, this is a sizeable amount of the experienced, talented workforce leaving because of a lack of support while they’re experiencing the menopause.
There are a lot of fears about perceptions of menopause, that we’ll be judged as not being as capable as before and that we won’t be understood, especially if our manager is male or younger. The important thing to remember is that the menopause affects each woman differently, with some having severe symptoms and others having mild symptoms. Talking about it is vital to make sure no one feels isolated in the workplace.
If you are struggling and need support then you need to be the one to initiate the discussion at work.
The worst thing is to suffer in silence and to not even broach it. Your manager isn’t there to fix your symptoms but they are there to ease your way at work. As with any other health condition, talk to your line manager if you think you need a referral to HR or Occupational Health.
The most important thing is don’t struggle or suffer in silence, talking about the menopause is becoming the norm more and more. Companies are starting to bring in or update existing menopause policies, with accreditations existing to demonstrate they are menopause friendly organisations.
Taking that step, speaking to the right person and identifying the support you need will help to make your working day that much easier, plus it’s vital to get the right support from your GP that works for you.