When I was working with organisations in 2019 to help them address menopause in their workplace, one of my recommended adjustments was to provide flexible working. Some organisations were open to consider this adjustment and others would say it wasn’t possible.
Why was I suggesting flexible working back in 2019?
There are many reasons and here are just two of them…
Some women will find it impossible to leave the house whilst they are on their period during perimenopausal years. This is not an excuse – this is real. When this was the case they would phone in sick, but they would not say it was because they were experiencing the most horrendous period and it was stopping them leave the house; they would have given a different reason.
If flexible working was available, no doubt, they would have been able to manage their symptoms at home, work from home and ultimately save the organisation sick pay.
A completely separate scenario is sleep deprivation. Women can suffer from debilitating sleep deprivation during their menopausal years for varying reasons. These in turn can effect their productivity during the working day, concentration levels; mood and potentially another day of sick pay because they are too tired to function.
Flexible working when you are suffering from sleep deprivation would be a game changer. To know that you could start work late and finish late or even allow yourself a power nap during the day then make up the time, would remove the need for further sick pay.
I am delighted to say that in 2021 when I talk to organisations about adjustments and now more commonly known as ‘agile’ working there is little hesitation. Yes, it is possible. Yes, we would rather employees worked from home than called in sick. Yes, agile working does work!
Flexible/agile working has definitely created a more manageable and more supportive working life for women.
However, I have deep concerns for the women who are solely working from home, with little interaction from colleagues, reduced 1:1 interaction and support and who could be suffering with menopause related brain fog, low mood, anxiety and the list goes on.
These women can be feeling completed isolated and alone and I urge anyone reading this blog to reach out to those who could be impacted in this way.