It’s Women’s Health Week and what better time to discuss the often taboo subject of how menopause can affect your work.
Since its inauguration in 2013, Women’s Health Week has become a permanent fixture on the Australian calendar taking place each year during the first week of September. It’s a free online event established by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health; a trusted and leading Australian not-for-profit health organisation. Founded in 1992, the organisation helps women take control of their own health and well-being providing information, resources and clinical care to women Australia-wide.
Women’s Health Week is a platform where women can focus on their health, learn, ask questions and talk about various health issues – “the elephants in the room”. We see one such elephant as the challenge some women face working during their menopausal phase of life.
In 2015, the International Menopause Society published the results of their study on the impact of menopause on working women. The study revealed that approximately 50 percent of menopausal women found it very difficult to continue to work productively in their job while trying to cope with the consequences of hormone fluctuations.
For many women during this time it can mean dealing with hot flushes, headaches, nausea, irritability, foggy brain, tiredness due to lack of sleep, and the inability to focus and make clear decisions – and these are just some of the common symptoms women can face on a day to day basis.
If employers and co-workers aren’t supportive and understanding of women during this time, they can very easily become disengaged with their work, dissatisfied and leave their job. If the job is one that can be performed virtually, then one of the obvious solutions is for the employer to offer a work from home arrangement.
When working from home, suffering from hot flushes won’t be embarrassing and you’ll have more control over your office environment, and possibly even the hours you work each day. Open the window, change the thermostat on your air conditioner, enjoy the peace and quiet, and take short breaks when you’re feeling fatigued. Even a walk around the garden at regular intervals can help tremendously.
But if your employer is not willing to bend the rules for you, then perhaps it is time to start looking for a new remote job that will give you better work-life balance. While menopause is something you have very little control over, you do have control over your career. The added stress of commuting and working in an office while trying to manage your menopausal symptoms may not be worth it.
Menopause can be a challenging time for women, but remember you are not alone. It’s a wonderful opportunity to use this change of life as a time to connect with other women, talk about what you are going through, and form new and lasting bonds.
For a wealth of information and resources on the topic of menopause, be sure to checkout the Jean Hailes website.
And if you’re looking for roles that will allow you to work from home (or anywhere) be sure to visit Remote Work Hub and browse the new jobs we’re adding to our database on a daily basis.