WORKING FROM HOME AND MENOPAUSE

Working from home has become a new way of working for the majority of people and it seems that it has taken some people, me included a while to adapt to working under the ‘rules’ of lockdown.

Three out of five working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopausal symptoms say it has a negative impact on their work according to new research from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.It suggests that small changes can make such a difference in how women manage their symptoms and how having access to flexible working, including the opportunity to work from home can help them thrive in their job.

There seems to have been a more positive shift in peoples attitudes of late on working from home and how it is positively impacting on their working day. Technology has played a massive part in enabling people to ‘carry on’ with doing their job, various platforms like Zoom and Team are at the forefront of this.

It got me thinking about what positives can come out of working from home for those who are going through Menopause and how this unprecedented situation we are in at the moment could actually be an advantage to those individuals that have, in the past struggled with working in an environment that they have found challenging in relation to managing their menopause health.

Menopause can bring with it a multitude of side affects that can affect a woman’s functionality on a daily basis. Insomnia is one of the symptoms reported by many women going through menopause and there is evidence that anyone suffering from the inability to get to sleep can experience many of the following:

Taking longer to fall asleep and remaining asleep.
Getting fewer than six hours of sleep on three or more nights a week
Waking too early,
Not feeling refreshed after sleeping which can affect stress levels and feeling less patient.

Some women have reported that their cognitive abilities seem to be greatly reduced affecting their ability to function at the level they have been used to pre-menopause.

So what advantages can be gained from working from home during menopause transition?

Managing their physical environment and work space, only having to consider their needs rather than their colleagues too. For example having a window open or the temperature lower to help them manage any hot flushes.

Starting work later to take into account any insomnia or broken sleep due to night sweats.

Regular toilet breaks and movement breaks (to help with sore joints)

Access to cool water.

Wear comfortable clothing

Work at a comfortable pace

Quality ‘time out” for coffee or alfresco lunch ideally in the garden( especially when the sun is shining to top up Vitamin D an essential vitamin to help with regulating mood and absorb Calcium to protect against osteoporosis)

Chunking down the day into manageable and productive sessions to help manage tiredness.

Making use of platforms like Zoom to still be involved with meetings with less worry about having a hot flush in a room full of people., less obvious and more manageable.

These are just a few of the advantages of working from home for an individual managing their menopause health, there are advantages for their employer too. the biggest advantage is that it helps the employee remain productive rather than non productive, for example if they have had to take time off sick due to being unable to manage their symptoms whilst in their normal working environment. Working from home can also help with moral and retaining talent within the organisation which in turn reduces recruitment costs not to mention reducing the risk of tribunals under the Equality Act 2010.

The current ‘enforced” working from home for those who have careers that can adapt to this way of working, at least for some of the working week can actually be an opportunity to trial it as a way of showing an employer that it can be a positive way to help manage menopause symptoms, a system that works for not only them as an individual but for an organisation to.

If you are an individual who is struggling with managing your menopause health in your normal working environment and you are finding working from home is having a positive affect on managing your menopause symptoms, then grasp this opportunity to open up the conversation with your line manager about the positive affects working from home is having on your menopause symptoms especially your mental health and productivity so that when things get back to ‘normal’ you are better placed to continue the conversation and to ask for the opportunity to work from home if required.

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