Women of menopausal age (45-54) make up 11% of all people in employment and 23% of all women in employment (3.5 million women) according to recent data. Menopause can have a significant impact on somebody’s daily life, including in the workplace, making it imperative for business leaders to offer employees as much support as they can as their workforce navigate the symptoms of menopause including fatigue, hot flushes, mood changes and sleep disturbances.
Lucy Lettice, Co-Founder of sustainable period care brand &SISTERS, said: “Menopause symptoms can be disruptive and can impact work performance. By offering support and accommodations, businesses can help employees manage their symptoms and maintain their productivity. This can help reduce absenteeism, turnover rates and improve overall employee retention.
“Menopause can be a really challenging time for people and having support from employers can make a world of difference. Businesses should strive to have an inclusive workplace culture and supporting menopausal employers is a great way to do this.
“At &SISTERS we want to ensure people who menstruate do not feel like a burden for the natural changes they go through. Here are a few ways business leaders can implement menopausal support systems in the workplace.”
Because the symptoms of menopause can be difficult to manage, offering flexible working arrangements such as remote working or adjusted working hours can help the person manage their symptoms, leading to increased productivity and better job performance.
With symptoms such as sweating and hot flushes, the person experiencing menopause may be feeling some embarrassment if their symptoms are noticed by colleagues, so offering them the chance to work from home or to adjust their working hours may help to preserve their mental health.
Menopausal employees may need more time for self-care, such as exercise or medical appointments. Flexible working can allow them to schedule their appointments during the day without the need to use up their annual leave.
Accommodating menopausal employees doesn’t have to be complicated, as a few simple changes to the working environment can move mountains for people trying to navigate their symptoms. Ensure the workplace temperature can easily be managed by adjusting the air conditioning, providing fans or space heaters, and allowing for open windows. Employees could also be provided with cold water stations, desk fans or even work uniforms made from alternative materials which allow for better airflow on the skin.
With fatigue being another major symptom of menopause, consider dedicating a room in the workplace for quiet time where employees can rest and recharge. In the long run, this will help menopausal employees maintain their productivity and manage their workload effectively amongst their symptoms.
Business leaders can provide education and awareness programs to help employees understand menopause and its impact on women. This can include workshops, seminars, or training sessions that cover topics such as symptoms, treatment options, and ways to manage menopause at work. Invite guest speakers who specialise in menopause and its impact to speak to your team in order to provide employees with a deeper understanding of the issues related to menopause and create an opportunity for discussion.
Lucy added: “By educating employees about menopause and its impact, employers can create a more supportive workplace culture where menopausal employees feel understood. Providing education and training is essential to beating the stigma that still surrounds talking about the menopause. Business leaders should view accommodating menopause in the workplace as a stepping stone to becoming an even more progressive workplace.”