Hot flushes, brain fog, insomnia – the symptoms of menopause can make work really challenging for many women, undermining confidence as well as productivity. The silence in workplaces about menopause makes things even worse. Many of the menopausal working women I have interviewed say they try to hide the fact they are going through menopause, which creates a whole extra layer of stress and only serves to make symptoms worse! Wouldn’t it be a relief if we could talk about his natural life transition openly at work, with all jokes aside, and ask for a little bit of understanding, and some simple supports?
Two years ago when I started raising awareness in workplaces, hardly any organisations Australia were menopause-friendly. Today, change is afoot. More workpalces are recognising that we need to, and can, talk about menopause just like we do other health condition. If menopausal symptoms are making work more challenging for you, you may want your manager to understand what is going on, and to explore some simple workplace adjustments that can make it easier to take care of your health and workplace performance.
If you feel concerned or uncomfortable about doing so, that’s understandable since menopause is not commonly talked about at work. You may fear embarrassment, being judged as not up for your job, or that your manager simply won’t understand, especially if they are young and/or male. It is up to you whether you raise the topic at work, and if so how. Your decision will depend on factors such how much your work is being affected and how supportive your workplace is. Do remember though, it is a workplace’s legal responsibility to create a healthy, discrimination-free environment for all workers, and it’s a manager’s job to help you do your job.
If you do want to talk about menopause with your manager, here as some suggestions. Flag it with your manager ahead of time: You can simply say, you have a health issue you’d like to make time to talk about. Take a clear, calm, matter of fact approach. Scheduling it ahead of time gives you both some time to prepare. Prepare yourself. Jot down how you will speak to these 4 points:
Prepare your manager: It is likely her or she hasn’t had training in this area.
Not sure whether to tell your manager? Use this decision making tool that’s been developed to help employees decide whether to talk to their boss about their mental health conditions. It works well simply by substituting menopause for mental health, as it raises similar concerns.
[Reviewed and endorsed by Dr Kelly Teagle, WellFemme Founder and menopause doctor]
For more information & registration details go to www.thea.com.au/menopause/manager-training/ This blended E-learning program, conducted by workplace wellbeing advisor Thea O’Connor, equips workplace managers and supervisors with the knowledge, confidence and tools to support employees through the menopausal transition, should they this, in order to help women maintain their health and remain successful in their roles.
If you can’t find the professional help you need for your peri/menopausal symptoms then book a Telehealth consultation with an expert WellFemme menopause doctor.
WellFemme is Australia’s first dedicated Telehealth menopause clinic, servicing locations nationwide including: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Dubbo, Bendigo, Broken Hill, Broome, Alice Springs, Launceston, Cairns, Mildura, Lightning Ridge, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Toowoomba, Charleville, Port Headland, Katherine, Ballarat, Coober Pedy, Bourke, Albury… and your place! 🙂