The workplace bathroom is many things. An escape, a quiet place to contemplate or, sometimes, an embarrassingly loud place.
It was also the birthplace of WOOM, an Australian startup offering accessible period care for the workplace.
This week, WOOM launched its ‘set and forget’ subscription model for period products. Akin to the toilet paper subscriptions popularised by brands like Who Gives A Crap, WOOM offers subscribers regular packs of organic cotton pads and tampons for their workplace bathrooms.
Employers just need to tell WOOM how many bathroom stalls, employees and visitors they have and the company calculates exactly how many boxes will be delivered every month. It’s a level of accessible period care rarely seen in Australian workplaces.
“Half the world gets their period, yet only a fraction of workplaces provide employees free period care. Workers are increasingly prioritising flexibility and a company’s commitment to wellbeing and inclusion, and free period care products should be the bare minimum,” says co-founder Tessa Westerhof.
Creating this venture was as much about filling a gap in the market as it was about ending the stigma that still exists around menstruation at work, according to Westerhof.
“There is still a taboo to be broken around periods in the workplace, which can lead to people feeling unsupported and isolated. But the simple act of providing free period-care products and embracing rather than hiding them can shift the dial on period shame,” she says.
A ‘modern workplace’ solution?
For its launch, the campaign offers up WOOM as a novel way to improve the workplace. It leverages a conversation still popular among employers who want workers back in the office after extensive lockdowns.
“Nurturing feelings of inclusion and comfort in a workplace can have myriad psychological and economic benefits for both employees and employers, from positive workplace culture, to productivity and talent retention,” says organisational psychotherapist and leadership coach Eloise King in WOOM’s press release.
One of WOOM’s first customers, Entropico, also explains its logic for subscribing in the media release.
“Companies want to attract top talent, and the ways that a workplace can make its people feel like they belong can be as important as the paychecks,” adds Entropico head of people and culture Tanisha Rodriguez.
The bright red WOOM boxes are “designed to be seen” and could signal a new era for shame-free and convenient period care at work.
“In the next five to 10 years, I predict free period care products will be as ubiquitous as free toilet paper,” says Rodriguez.
For more Australian period product disruptors, read about how Modibodi tackled period poverty with Plan International Laos.