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Understanding Menopause in the workplace

As we know by now, all women are different. While some people sail through their menopause with little to no side effects, unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone.

“Menopausal women are now the fastest-growing workforce demographic”, with around 4.3 million women aged 50 and over in employment in the U.K (ONS 2015) and by 2020, it's estimated that 1 in 3 British worked will be over 50. Currently, a shocking 1 in 5 felt their menopausal symptoms were significantly affecting their work.

As an ageing population and workforce, organisations must revaluate their procedures to better cater to the needs of all staff members, ensuring they retain this invaluable talent pool, their knowledge and experience.

Work is beneficial for menopausal women, providing not only a steady income but offering a sense of fulfilment, positive self-esteem and improved confidence. However, if organisations don't take menopausal symptoms into consideration regarding the working environment, such as lack of temperature control, cramped conditions, overwhelming stress or lack of flexibility, it can highly impact attendance, productivity and performance. Alarmingly, in some cases, menopausal symptoms can lead to women leaving their jobs. In fact, one in four considers it, according to the Wellbeing of Women survey in 2017.

Typical menopausal symptoms to be aware of:

  • Hot flushes
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep
  • Low mood
  • Reduced Confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration

Talking about symptoms and their impact will help reduce the negative stigma surrounding the menopause. While the menopause needn't be anything to be ashamed off, research suggests a large proportion of affected women don’t seek medical help or advice and feel uncomfortable discussing the subject with their managers. Increasing awareness of these symptoms, alongside manageable solutions, will allow an improved level of support, 

Offering Menopause training and support can:

  • Improve awareness and understanding
  • Increase productivity
  • Lead to lower absence levels
  • Reduce presenteeism
  • Help retain staff
How can organisations support their staff?

  • offer educational workshops for managers and staff alike.
  • introduce an 'open door policy' to encourage those suffering to ask for support.
  • provide reason adjustment with facilities such as desk fans, improved temperature control, supportive seating, readily available cold drinking water and looser/cooler uniforms.
  • avoid insensitive comments, jokes and references 
  • encourage awareness and understanding