Let’s start with why menopause is relevant in the workplace.
100% of women will go through menopause but that’s nothing new. What has changed is women’s role in the UK workforce.
Women currently comprise almost half the UK workforce and the number of older UK women in employment has been rising for a number of years alongside the rising retirement age.
As a result more and more women are experiencing menopause whilst working. Moreover growth in female leadership means the number of women in senior roles is rising and will continue to do so.
So menopause is more relevant in the workplace today than it was even 20 years ago because women are working longer and they’re working in more senior positions too.
The menopause symptoms women will experience can affect performance at work and impact relationships with managers, colleagues and clients.
Symptoms include poor memory and concentration resulting in an inability to recall facts, figures and names leading to a loss of confidence with colleagues and clients.
Hot flushes aren’t just uncomfortable they’re embarrassing too. How would you feel about leading an internal meeting or pitching to clients when you’re at risk of visibly breaking into a sweat every 30 minutes?
The good news is with the right support and access to balanced expert information women can successfully learn to manage symptoms at work and at home too.
What can you do as an employer?
Start by reviewing the occupational health and wellbeing documentation you already have in place.
- Look at your risk assessments and revise them to consider the specific needs of menopausal women with regards to temperature, ventilation, toilet facilities and access to chilled drinking water when they’re in the office, travelling for business or working off site.
- Consider the formal policies and guidelines you currently have in place with regards to topics like managing stress, mental health, leave of absence, bereavement and requests for flexible working. How can they be adapted to incorporate the needs of your female employees experiencing menopause symptoms?
- Or would it be more appropriate for your organisation to introduce a detailed menopause policy and guidelines as part of your wider health and wellbeing agenda. I’d suggest you produce separate guidance to meet the differing needs of staff and managers.
Updating your occupational health and wellbeing documentation is just one way your organisation can support female employees through menopause. You can also adopt a more interactive approach to menopause in the workplace which I’ll be discussing next week.
In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss the range of solutions available to your organisation to minimise the impact of menopause in the workplace please email email@example.com.