“Should I tell my employer about my menopause?” is one of the most common questions I get asked by the women I work with.
Not all women will need support at work during menopause but for some, their symptoms will have an impact on them at work. If this happens, should you tell your employer or is it just one of those things “you have to put up with”? The short answer is fuck no! If you have symptoms that are impacting your ability to do your job in any way, it’s always best to discuss this with your employer.
Studies have shown that around 50% of women going through menopause have found it difficult to cope at work because of their symptoms.
For many the main issues are:
- poor concentration
- poor memory
- feeling low or depressed
- low confidence
Hang on, I know you’re wondering about hot flushes too. Yes, they account for being the top reason for causing major distress at work. Yes, MAJOR DISTRESS.
It’s easy to see why with so many triggers in the workplace such as hot and poorly ventilated work areas, formal meetings and high visibility work such as giving presentations.
There are loads of reasons women don’t seek help or support from their employer
but some of the main ones are:
- embarrassment – menopause is still a bit of a taboo subject with people’s attitudes to it varying from empathetic and understanding through to being massive knobs who take the piss.
- thinking that menopause isn’t an illness and they just have to put up with it
- don’t think they’re entitled to help
- have no idea what help is available
I wholeheartedly advise you to speak to your manager about support if you are struggling at work in any way due to menopause symptoms. It is likely that there is a lot they can do to help but they can only help you if they know there’s a problem.
There does appear to be a growing number of women who are sadly being driven away from the workplace because it’s just too hard to work with their symptoms and what may appear to be an inflexible workplace. Struggling to manage symptoms can mean missing out on things like promotions and training, losing confidence and reducing hours leading to reduced pay. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
What help can I get?
Most employers have policies in place to support the health and wellbeing of their staff. This will obviously vary greatly depending on where you work. Larger organisations tend to have a shed load of policies in place whereas a smaller employer may have one policy that incorporates a number of things.
In general, though, a simple conversation with your manager is all you need to do to establish what help they can offer. If you’re not comfortable approaching your manager, consider another manager whom you are comfortable with or someone in HR.
Start by outlining what the main problems are that you are having and how it’s impacting you at work. This is your starting point and hopefully, your manager will then be able to implement some support that will help you to cope with your symptoms and prevent further problems from occurring.
If you want more information on what type of support to look out for or you don’t find that your manager has many answers, check out this post where I outline how you can arm yourself with options to present to your manager yourself.