Let’s make menopause at work ‘the new normal’
There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’ over the last few months and while lots of things in work and life have changed, there’s one thing for women that has stayed the same; the menopause.
By Sharon MacArthur
The full picture about the effects of the pandemic on mental health and wellbeing is yet to emerge, and this is something that employers will have to consider as people begin their tentative return to the workplace.
Do you think you’ve got mental health and wellbeing covered?
If you have a wellbeing policy, is menopause mentioned anywhere?
If you’re not talking about menopause, then you’re missing out the biggest demographic of working women over 50.
You need to listen to employees’ needs
During the pandemic, remote working might have helped some women who are going through menopause. They haven’t had to travel, they’ve been able to work more flexibly, and have had more control over things like the environment they work in or what they wear.
More companies need to consider remote working as an option for employees who are going through menopause. Think about it, you get happier, more productive employees, and women get the reassurance that they’re working for an employer who actually cares about their physical and mental wellbeing.
As companies rebuild and recover from the pandemic, they need happy and productive people more than ever, and you get that by being alert, and listening to their needs. Don’t let any more amazing talent slip through your fingers; keep women working for you by making menopause a part of your new normal.
Women’s feelings about the menopause
If you’re still not convinced that you need to take action on menopause, here’s some food for thought. I asked women to tell me how menopause makes them feel…
153 women responded and even though I was expecting a lot of the responses to be negative, I was still shocked at how bad women are feeling. Read through this list and think about the fact that this is happening in your workplace, to your female employees, even if you’re not aware of it.
I asked women to complete the statement: “Menopause makes me feel …”
Here’s what they said. There were a few positive comments, but as you can see, they were mostly awful.
Old, Lost, Erratic, Grumpy, Pain, Stupid, Useless, Not human, Not like me anymore, Sh*t, Loopy, Confused – I’m in a body I don’t understand, Down, Alone, Not the person I once was, Like an impostor in my own body and mind, Misunderstood, Like I’ve missed a lot, Worn out, An emotional wreck, Like a different person, Anxious, Incompetent, Overwhelmed, Old, inefficient, and invisible, Like an alien in my own body, Unaware of who I am, Wiped out, Downtrodden, Crazy, Anxious, Awful, Knackered, Inadequate, Powerless, I’ve lost what made me, me, Up and down, Not myself, Feel like 10 different people in one day – so very exhausted, Unbalanced, Wrecked, Baffled, Like my joints have aged 20 years overnight, Like I have no confidence and I’ve lost me, Insignificant, Frump, gross, sweaty, Drained and old, Clueless, Discombobulated, Panicking that every time I get hot, I’ve got Covid-19, Invisible, Hot and crappy, Hot, sweaty, anxious, and forgetful, Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish!, Old and creaky, Like if I was an animal, I would probably have to be put down, Crap, ugly, old, Hot, Sh*t, large, and blobby, Boring, This is life as it shouldn’t be, Free, Old, fat, and much, much wiser, Powerful, Older, wiser, and actually very happy. I thank my lucky stars for this, So much calmer, no more period craziness, Fat but wise like I’m stepping into my true wise self. Quite sh*t at times though, Happy to have got this far…
Do you still think you’re doing enough?
Menopause is not an illness, but it can have a huge impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Menopause never stopped during the pandemic, but now, with the increased focus on employee wellbeing, this is the perfect time to get your ducks in a row and start the conversation about menopause.
Want to know more about how I can help you make menopause the ‘new normal’ in your organisation? Get in touch!