Creating a human friendly work environment.

I remember the talk of how robots or machines in general would take over our jobs, paper would become obsolete, and we’d live a life of leisure. 

Funny how as a society we resist the opportunity for change.

Being required to be in a certain place at (and for) a certain time makes sense in a production line environment, and even in a service environment. But doesn’t it seem a little old fashioned for most office environments these days??

COVID should have taught us that we can do things differently, with often much better results all around. And yet, post COVID there is still a swing back to “the “good” old days”, and the apparent need for everyone to be in person and productive – much like one of those machines that were going to replace us. 

In short it is all about control over others, and lack of trust. We hide behind “expectations” and job descriptions.

The truth is, for about half the population (I’m referring to women here) – at various times showing up is bl**dy difficult. As is performing at our usual 150%. And to be quite honest, there are probably times when its hard for men to show up too… But since I’m not one it’s a little harder to comment on that. 

Throughout our lives, hormonal fluctuations are so normal that a majority of scientists refused to include women in medical research trials (until they were legally required to) because it made it “too hard” for them. Imagine how that feels for us when every day can feel different within ourselves… and then we get to experience our bodies going haywire when we hit perimenopause. 

In short, we are just different, and a more supportive working environment would enable us to not only feel more valued and be more productive – it would give permission for everyone to work to their own best design. Something different becomes the norm rather than a challenge to be managed and probably complained about. 

What might this “new” approach be like?

1. For a start, accepting that one-size-fits-all actually fits no one. And belittling comments about what others might be asking for don’t have a place in  this modern work environment. 

2. Beyond just having policies, actually focusing on employing managers and staff who genuinely seek to help everyone have the best working experience is key. Genuine. Helping. 

3. Focus on employee wellbeing in work design and empowering staff to have a say in how they are most productive. This might also include self-awareness building.

4. Normalise productivity that comes in different forms and makes the most of peoples strengths (job descriptions can be adapted)

5. Providing access to information and training to help support individuals to understand themselves and how they can better support and care for themselves – we want to help folk stay at the top of their game as much as they can!

6. If you can do individual performance review meetings, then you can do this. A large company can adapt if they truely want to, the journey may look a little different from a small biz. Performance is still important, we just need to be okay that it can and will look different from how it has been, and also from what the manager may traditionally want to see. 


Each of us is an individual, and so each of us may need a slightly different approach. A good friend of mine juggles the double whammy of neurodiversity and perimenopause by mapping out when she is super productive and when she may need fewer expectations and deadlines. Being open minded and human centric is so important. 

For me, my energy levels plummeted when I had seriously low iron levels – thanks perimenopause! If I walked up a single flight of stairs I had to have a lie down for half an hour. Not really great for an office experience. It didn’t mean I couldn’t do great work lying on my couch at home though. The work still happened, the working environment, and the timing just looked different. 

Not surprisingly, currently a significant number of women leave the workforce when they do hit perimenopause/ menopause. The current office culture is too hard and too demeaning for them to continue navigating. Such a loss of skilled and experienced women who we so desperately need to hang onto. 


Another bonus of creating a flexible and individualised workplace is not just the increased productivity and positive work culture, you’ll also become an employer of choice. 

So really, win-win. It just takes open minds, and a belief that we employ individuals, not machines. A growth mindset actually.