World Menopause Day is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of menopause. Additionally, it looks at raising awareness around the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th of October and is led by the International Menopause Society. In 2023, the theme for World Menopause Day is Cardiovascular Disease, which is one of the major health risks associated with menopause.
If you are an HR or wellbeing leader in the workplace, you may be wondering how you can support your employees who are going through menopause or perimenopause. The menopause is a natural biological process that affects most women and other people who have a menstrual cycle at some point in their lives. It happens when the ovaries stop producing eggs and hormones, resulting in the end of periods and fertility.
Menopause can cause various physical and psychological symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, brain fog, vaginal dryness, joint pain, and anxiety. These symptoms can have a significant impact on the quality of life, work performance, and mental health of your employees. Therefore, it is important to create a supportive and inclusive work environment that recognises and respects the needs and challenges of people going through menopause.
In this blog post, we will share some tips and best practices on how to support your employees through menopause in the workplace. We will also highlight some of the benefits of having a menopause-friendly workplace culture for your organisation and your staff.
Why should you care about menopause in the workplace?
You may think that menopause is a personal or private matter that has nothing to do with work. However, there are many reasons why you should care about menopause in the workplace and take action to support your employees.
Menopause affects a large and growing proportion of the workforce. According to a House of Commons Committee report, there are around 4.5 million women aged 50-64 in employment in the UK. Many of these women are likely to experience menopausal symptoms while working, which can last for several years.
Secondly, menopause can have a negative impact on work productivity, engagement, and retention. Research by CIPD found that three out of five working women aged 45-55 who are experiencing menopausal symptoms say it has a negative effect on their work. Some of the common issues reported by women include difficulty concentrating, feeling tired or stressed and losing confidence. Additionally, many respondents also reported feeling less respected or valued. Some women may also face discrimination or harassment because of their menopausal symptoms or age.
Thirdly, menopause can affect not only women but also other people who have a menstrual cycle, such as trans and non-binary people. These people may experience menopausal symptoms due to changes in hormones caused by medical treatments or conditions. They may also face additional challenges such as stigma, isolation, or lack of understanding from their colleagues or managers.
Therefore, by caring about menopause in the workplace, you can show your commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as health and wellbeing. In addition, you can also improve your employee satisfaction, loyalty, performance, and retention. Not to mention you can also enhance your reputation as an employer of choice that values and supports its staff.
How to support your employees through menopause in the workplace?
There are many ways you can support your employees who are going through menopause in the workplace. Here are some suggestions that you can implement or adapt according to your organisation’s needs and culture.
Raise awareness and educate
One of the key steps to support your employees through menopause is to raise awareness. Additionally, you educate yourself and others about what it is, what it involves, and how it affects people differently. You can do this by:
- Providing information and resources on menopause on your intranet, newsletters, or notice boards.
- Organising training sessions or workshops on menopause for managers and staff.
- Inviting external speakers or experts to share their knowledge and experience on menopause.
- Celebrating World Menopause Day or other relevant events to promote awareness and discussion on menopause.
- Encouraging feedback and suggestions from your employees on how to improve your support for menopause.
By raising awareness and educating yourself and others, you can help to break down the stigma and taboo around it. Additionally, you can also help to create a more open and supportive work culture. You should help people feel comfortable talking about their symptoms and needs without fear of judgement or ridicule.
Provide guidance and policies
You should also provide clear guidance and policies on how menopause is addressed at work. You can do this by:
- Developing a specific policy or guidance document on menopause that outlines your organisation’s approach, expectations, responsibilities, and support options.
- Reviewing and updating your existing policies and procedures on health and wellbeing. As part of this, you should also address equality and diversity, flexible working, sickness absence, and performance management. This ensures that these policies are inclusive and sensitive to menopausal issues.
- Communicating and implementing your policies and guidance effectively and consistently across your organisation.
- Monitoring and evaluating your policies and guidance regularly and making improvements as needed.
By providing guidance and policies on menopause, you can help to ensure that your employees are treated fairly and respectfully at work. You can also help to prevent or resolve any potential problems or conflicts that may arise due to menopausal symptoms or misunderstandings.
Offer support and adjustments
A third crucial step to support your employees through menopause is to offer practical support and adjustments that can help them cope with their symptoms and work effectively. You can do this by:
- Providing access to confidential advice, counselling, or coaching services for your employees who are experiencing menopausal symptoms or difficulties.
- Offering flexible working arrangements, such as part-time, compressed hours, or home working, that can suit your employees’ needs and preferences.
- Making reasonable adjustments to the work environment, such as providing fans, air conditioning, natural light, or access to water, that can help your employees manage their symptoms.
- Allowing your employees to take breaks, rest, or change their clothes as needed when they have hot flushes or night sweats.
- Supporting your employees to access appropriate medical treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), if they wish to do so.
By offering support and adjustments for menopause, you can help to improve your employees’ health and wellbeing. You can also help to reduce their stress, fatigue, or discomfort and enhance their productivity, performance, and morale.
Encourage communication and feedback
A fourth vital step to support your employees through menopause is to encourage communication and feedback between you and them. You can do this by:
- Having regular conversations with your employees who are going through menopause or perimenopause. You should discuss how they are feeling and what they need from you.
- Listening actively and empathetically to your employees’ concerns, challenges, or requests and responding positively and constructively.
- Providing feedback and recognition to your employees on their work achievements and contributions.
- Seeking feedback and suggestions from your employees on how you can improve your support for menopause.
- Respecting your employees’ privacy and confidentiality and not disclosing their personal information without their consent.
By encouraging communication and feedback on menopause, you can help to build trust and rapport with your employees. You can also help to identify and address any issues or barriers that may affect their work performance or satisfaction.
World Menopause Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness about menopause. Additionally, it’s also a perfect time to address the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
As an HR or wellbeing leader in the workplace, you have a key role to play in supporting your employees who are going through menopause or perimenopause. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this blog post, you can create a supportive and inclusive work environment that recognises and respects the needs and challenges of people going through menopause. You can also reap the benefits of having a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.
We hope you found this blog post useful and informative. If you need any help or advice on how to support menopause in the workplace, please contact us today. We would love to hear from you.