A few months ago, I told 11,000 people at work that I was on my period.
It’s normal for me to throw up from pain on my period and I found myself uncontrollably cramping during meetings. I had just come back from being ill, and worried it would look like I was ‘slacking’.
I didn’t feel comfortable starting this conversation in the team room, so I used a red drop emoji and set it as my ‘Slack’ status. It was my way of saying “I’m in pain, please be mindful and recognise that I might not have the energy to deal with some tasks.” For me, this was essential information for me to do my job, but it’s a very personal choice.
It ended up sparking many conversations across the company, with some colleagues expressing they too had the same experience, some who were unsure about the approach, and others who didn’t have periods wanting to know how best to support. The conversation also expanded into thinking about other hormonal changes, such as IVF and menopause.
I raised this during International Women’s day because menstrual anxiety can affect all people who have periods/PMS and can still impact our lives profoundly. And remember periods can affect more people than women as well – including nonbinary, intersex people, and trans men.
The response went viral on LinkedIn and started many conversations about periods in the workplace.
Who should have been included in this work, but was not.
People who work in settings where they don’t have online communication platforms, such as those in the hospitality and acting industries.