21 Mar Menopause in the Workplace: How Employers Can Help
Managing the effects of the menopause at work is important for both employers and their staff.
Menopause is a natural process that occurs when a woman’s reproductive years end. It happens to most women and can significantly impact their health and well-being. However, the same symptoms can also affect women before menopause. It is called peri-menopause and can usually start in their 40s. Unfortunately it is a topic that’s often considered taboo, especially in the workplace.
Thankfully, there is now more recognition of the need to support women going through menopause in terms of their health and careers. In the UK, the government has issued guidance to employers on how to help women going through menopause, and there are many campaigns and initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the issue.
So, what are some key issues around menopause in the workplace, and how can employers help their female employees through this transition?
One of the most apparent aspects of menopause is the physical symptoms women may experience, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue. These symptoms can be challenging in the workplace, especially for women who work in hot or stuffy environments or must wear restrictive clothing. Employers can help women by adjusting their working conditions, such as providing fans or air conditioning, allowing more frequent breaks, and letting women dress comfortably. They can also provide access to health and well-being resources, such as counselling services or support groups. For example, Dr Louise Newton on Instagram is a beneficial account to follow if you want to learn more about menopause.
Menopause can also significantly impact women’s emotional well-being, with many women experiencing anxiety, depression, and mood swings. This can be challenging in the workplace, where women may feel pressure to appear “professional” and hide their emotions. Employers can help by creating a culture of openness and understanding around menopause. They can train managers to support women going through it or make a network of colleagues who can offer support and advice.
Another issue that women may face during menopause is a lack of support for career progression. This might be due to assumptions about women’s abilities or age-related bias. Employers can support women by ensuring that menopause is included in diversity and inclusion policies and that women are not discriminated against because of their age or gender. They can also provide opportunities for training and development, mentoring, and flexible working arrangements to support women who may be struggling.
Education and Awareness
Finally, education and awareness are crucial to supporting menopausal women in the workplace. Many women may feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about this topic, and employers may not be aware of its impact on their employees. Employers can support women by providing information about the physical and emotional symptoms and how to support colleagues going through this transition. They can also raise awareness of menopause through internal communications, such as newsletters or posters.
In conclusion, menopause is an important life event affecting women’s health and careers. Employers are responsible for supporting female employees through this transition by creating an open and supportive culture, providing resources and support, and raising awareness of menopause in the workplace.