Understanding Your Female Colleagues
Women over 50 are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce.
Around 25% of this demographic have considered leaving their job due to menopausal symptoms.
A lot of these women will find it difficult to talk about menopause.
60% of menopausal women say it affects their work.
Have a think about how the symptoms of menopause may affect your female work colleagues.
Heidi is a senior member of the team. She’s in her late 40s and has been with the company for many years. She’s quite senior in her role and is very well respected. Heidi is usually very confident, sharp-minded and witty.
Heidi has a deadline of today to complete a report which she will present to the other senior team tomorrow afternoon. Most of the senior team are male.
You have noticed that she’s been out of sorts recently, Heidi has been quite snappy with other colleagues and staff have started to avoid her. She is always leaving her desk and yawning in the office quite a lot. She has been using a fan at her desk. Heidi has started to get behind on her work, her presentation is not complete and she is now panicking about it and is in a foul mood.
So what could possibly be happening?
Heidi may be having menopausal symptoms which are affecting her work.
She could be having hot flushes - after all, there’s a fan on her desk, but she could also be suffering from sweats and sleep disturbance. She will be exhausted.
Heidi might be suffering from brain fog making it difficult for her to concentrate and complete the report.
She might be suffering from bladder problems and needs the toilet frequently, hence leaving her desk frequently.
How might Heidi be feeling?
As Heidi is usually very sharp, the brain fog will probably affect her self-confidence. She may become anxious and stressed and not be able to concentrate on her work as well as she used to.
She might be panicking about forgetting her train of thought during the presentation.
She may be worrying about the embarrassment of having a hot flush in front of her mostly male colleagues.
She might be anxious about needing the loo during the presentation.
Her symptoms may also be affecting her relationships at home resulting in added stress.
As she is getting behind on her work she might also be worried about losing her job.
Think about how could you or a colleague help Heidi?
It can be difficult to bring up the topic of menopause. Sometimes it can be as simple as acknowledgement by your employer with some small adjustments that is all that is needed to make work-life easier.
Could you or a female colleague open up a discussion with Heidi?
Are there any adaptations you can make? I.e. a cooler space to work? Near a window?
Could flexible working help?
Could Heidi work from home some days?
Can the presentation be done via Zoom?
Check out our other articles to get a full understanding of what the Menopause means for many women.