Desk fans – a working woman’s best friend
Just over 10 years ago I was guilty of moaning when my colleague turned on her desk fan, blowing my papers onto the floor and giving me goose bumps – in the middle of winter too. Not good. Fast forward 10 years and I get stressed when my fan refuses to work. Talk about karma!
But seriously, I never appreciated the need for a desk fan at work until I regularly experienced the hot flushes associated with menopause.
I remember one office where there were about seven desk fans – all on the desks of women on the ‘wrong’ side of 40. The air conditioning controls had been locked because ‘someone’ was changing them all the time – it was the only way the poor facilities team knew of dealing with complaints from the rest of the office about it being too cold. Thankfully, desk fans started to appear like mini palm trees, popping up here and there to cool down those hard-working gals.
So what can you do to keep cool at work?
- Like my colleagues, see if you can get a desk fan. On my worst days my fan is on and off like a yoyo, but at least that leaves the air conditioning alone.
- Maybe you could move desks, either swapping with someone who has a desk near a window that opens or who doesn’t like sitting where they can feel a stream of cool air. That could be a win-win for both of you.
- If there is only air conditioning, help colleagues understand why you’d like it cooler where you are. Hot flushes are nothing to be ashamed of and it’s always easier to add a layer of clothing when it’s too cool.
- In fact, dressing in lightweight layers helps – you can easily remove a layer when the flush starts.
- Spraying your face with a cooling mist or applying a cooling wet wipe might also help during a flush.
- If you have to wear a uniform, it might be worth talking to your employer about relaxing the dress code or maybe seeing if they can provide uniforms in lighter weight material as a reasonable adjustment – you never know until you ask!
- Another reasonable adjustment might be to take a break during the flush itself.
- Remember to drink plenty of water to counteract the sweats and help avoid headaches.
We didn’t ask for these hot flushes and however uncomfortable they are, there’s no need to be embarrassed. These days it seems most of my female colleagues have them and I find our shared experience empowering
Written by one of our fantastic retreat licencees Nikkie Cox
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