Supporting Menopause in the Workplace
Jul 05, 2021
Menopause is something that all women will experience in their life.
However it’s not something that’s well understood or openly spoken about.
The symptoms of menopause will almost certainly affect how you work but it’s often seen to be a taboo subject which leaves women struggling in silence - in fact, 1 in 4 women consider leaving their roles during that time.
As well as the 34+ physical symptoms a woman could experience there’s also the lessor known psychological effects. Many women feel anxiety, worry, brain fog, lack of concentration or forgetfulness, affecting their confidence and self-esteem in their job.
In the most recent episode of the Influence & Impact for Female Leaders podcast, I interviewed Deborah Garlick from Henpicked Menopause. Deborah is on a mission to ensure women are supported throughout menopause through awareness, education and workplace training.
Deborah shared valuable and practical tips for both women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause and leaders in their organisations which I’ve broken into two sections for this blog:
1: Gaining menopause support from your organisation
2: How to be a supportive leader
Gaining menopause support from your organisation
Menopause is a health condition that could be affecting your ability to work, your moods and your self-confidence. It can feel like a taboo or awkward subject to bring up at work however support from your workplace can make a world of difference.
Here’s Deborah’s steps to do this:
- Find out what menopause support is already available in your workplace. More employers are putting the right education, awareness and support in place. Start by searching on your organisation’s Intranet or employee support documents.
- Ask for a meeting with your line manager and prepare beforehand. Treat the conservation like you’re speaking about any other health condition. Tell them what your symptoms are, what your experience at work is like, what you’re personally doing to support yourself and what would help you at work.
- If your line manager is unable to help in the way you need or have the information on the support available, speak to your HR team.
- If you feel uncomfortable with speaking to your manager or HR, is there someone else in your organisation who you trust and feel comfortable having the conversation with? Other women may be feeling the same as you and you can ask for support together.
How to be a supportive leader
There are many ways leaders can support colleagues and team members experiencing menopause.
- Start by doing your own research. Find out what menopause support is already available in your workplace and learn more about what menopause is and the different symptoms women can experience.
- Be open to listen and to have a conversation if a colleague speaks to you about menopause. Menopause affects every woman differently so be prepared to be flexible in terms of the support they need. Ask what you can do to help and what they need from you.
- Open up the conversation to the office and share if you’re researching menopause support at work or if you attended a training. This lessens the taboo and can allow women who were struggling to open up and feel that they can ask for support.
Speaking about menopause openly and providing education and support will help to make a real difference for perimenopausal and menopausal women at work.
You can listen to the full podcast interview with Deborah here: https://www.carlamillertraining.com/podcast
Listen to the Influence & Impact podcast on Carla’s website, Apple, Spotify or Stitcher
For more articles on the issues that impact women leaders at work follow Carla Miller on LinkedIn
Find out about the various ways Carla works with women leaders and organisations on her website www.carlamillertraining.com