Everyone has something that they could be going through. A divorce, a dying family member, maybe a midlife crisis. Even getting a new pet can stir up anxiety. These types of situations often cause us to take a step back so we can process, and we should, for our own mental health! Life changes are called “life changes” because they drastically impact one’s everyday existence and good employers are sensitive to these experiences. With that said, women go through changes that can cause impacts to their time at work and their workplace performance.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a joyous occasion for many, however, pregnancy in and of itself is an extreme change for women’s bodies and emotionally stressful. Morning sickness, weight gain, or sleepless nights due to discomfort or anxiety are just a few of the side effects the body goes through to grow a baby. Leadership needs to be aware, and help provide a comforting environment. For example, this might mean allowing a standing worker a place to sit or provide a pregnancy-specific parking space nearer to the building.
Childcare: Women are often forced to choose between work and family. Children need care and attention both when they are sick and when they aren’t. It can be difficult to find alternate childcare if your usual daycare provider is sick or on vacation, or they can’t find anyone else to pick their child up from school. These challenges are especially poignant for single mothers. As an employer, work with your employees to find solutions for both them and your business. Be a resource to help your employees succeed.
Menopause: This isn’t something that we normally think about affecting women in the workplace yet it does. It can be just as intense as puberty and something that shouldn’t be dismissed. Menopause can cause extreme hormonal changes in women’s bodies that are uncomfortable in a multitude of ways such as irritability, fatigue, and physical changes. And just like everything, the experience of menopause is different for every woman.
These are just a few of the struggles that women face and it’s vital that we as a society start to see women and care about what they are going through, particularly in work environments. It’s possible that an amazing employee walked away from her job because she felt she was hindered in some way that wouldn’t allow her to stay when in reality she could have resolved it with her employer. At the end of the day, your business is still a business, and your employee needs an income, and as a boss, you are in a position to listen and guide your employees to a place where you both can flourish.