Try mentioning the word “menopause” at work and it is likely to stun people into silence or cause a nervous giggle.
But as peri/menopause can come with its symptons, it often impacts your day-2-day work.
A recent research surveying 1409 women experiencing menopause symptons, only confirms that.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) said they were less able to concentrate
More than half (58%) said they experience more stress
More than half (52%) said they felt less patient with clients and colleagues.
So is it smart to just continue your business as usual?
No, hell not!! says head team coach Norah Bell from a NYC based corporate training agency.
You should communicate changes as soon as possible for YOUR own benefit, even though this can be WAY out of your comfort zone.
Perry: Norah thanks so much for talking this very important topic. Why is peri/menopause at the workplace still such a taboo topic?
Just like outside of the workplace, peri/menopause has the stigma of dropping out of society, being on the other side of the hill, becoming redundant.
In the workplace this becomes even more so. Women feel left out, weaker and uncomfortable talking about their 'women issues'.
Nearly a third of women (30%) said they take a sick leave because of their symptoms, but only a quarter of them felt able to tell their manager the real reason for their absence. Privacy is the number one consideration for women choosing not to disclose.
Perry: Exactly! Privacy! Should you adress it, or rather say that this is noone's business
I have a very strong opinion here and have seen it working out in endless team coaching classes I have given exactly on this topic.
You should ABSOLUTELY adress it. Because it may impact the way you work, but is mostly nothing permanent and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Choosing a proactive way here, has so many more benefits than drawbacks.
Perry: Adressing seems like a solution, but definitely not an easy one for many. What do you advise.
My advice is always : Be clear of your objective and goal. And then your strategy. Why do you address it and with whom. What is your preferred outcome? More flexible working hours? Working perhaps only 80%?
Coming out-of the perimenopause should serve 2 main purposes 1- Your own state-of-mind 2 - The best working environment possible. What I want women to achieve is to be the best version of themselves also at work.
It shouldn't be a coffee break announce-to-everyone type of thing, but a strategic and meaningful 'coming-out'.
Perry: Tell us more. And what are the first steps?
Be clear on who to tell first, is it your manager, your close team? Gather them and adress it, that changes are occuring, which may impact xyz. Don't be apologetic, because there is really nothing to be sorry for. This is on a pure need-to-know basis, for your team to understand potential changes in your work style.
If you wish to work more flexible or less, reason it with the changes that are occuring. Maybe you only want to cut back for some time and then go 100% back in.
You can design your perfect worksetting by being proactive. Hiding won't help in the long run.
Perry: How detailed should you be?
Norah: You decide the level of detail. Menopause might sound scary to some, but everyone understands it when you explain it in 2-3 sentences. Do you want to mention irregular periods? You can, but only if it serves your objective.
Specificially symptons affecting your concentration, stress-level and mood are relevant for your team and are easily explained.