Did you know nearly 50% of women believe menopause symptoms have had a negative impact on their performance at work.
The most common symptoms were poor concentration, tiredness and poor memory. Unsurprisingly hot flushes were a major source of distress for women at work too.
So if your menopause symptoms are affecting your ability to do your job how do you broach that subject with your boss?
You might feel like you’re losing the plot but you certainly don’t want anyone else to view you like that.
How do you overcome the awkwardness, the embarrassment and the fear you won’t be taken seriously?
How do you start a conversation about menopause at work?
I’ve got a very simple framework for you to follow to make this crucial conversation so much easier for you to manage.
1 Book a time
Don’t going rushing in to your boss’ office on impulse, in a rage or when you’ve reached the end of your tether. It’ll end in tears – most probably yours.
Mentally rehearse what you’re going to say so when you talk to your manager the words feel and sound natural.
You can practice in the shower, in your car or out loud in front of the mirror. You could even do a mini role play with a trusted friend.
Talk about your current situation, what’s happening and most importantly how’s it affecting your work.
I’d recommend you give very specific examples of how your menopause symptoms are impacting your ability to do your work.
For example, night sweats are regularly disturbing your sleep and the consequent tiredness means it’s taking longer to complete tasks so there’s been a drop in your productivity.
Or you’re experiencing hot flushes which are embarrassing you and preventing you from speaking up in meetings.
4 Offer a solution
Think about how your circumstances could be improved and offer a reasonable solution.
Could you work from home or come into work later on some days if poor sleep is an issue for you.
If the temperature in your office is making your hot flushes worse, can you have a fan or move to a desk next to a window you can open.
Don’t expect an answer immediately. This may have been upsetting you for a long time. You’ve been mentally rehearsing and gathering your courage but it’s the first time your manager’s heard about it so allow him or her time to digest the information.
5 Follow up
Don’t leave that first meeting until you have a time in the diary to meet again whether that’s to agree a way forward or if you’ve already done that to monitor progress.
Above all, remember this is just 2 people having a conversation.
You’re not drawing battle lines. It’s not you against them.
All anyone wants is for you to be fit and well and do your job to the best of your ability.
Menopause at work isn’t a taboo topic. It’s time to get talking – let me know how your conversations go.