Women’s Health In The Workspace: Ways To Support Female Employees During Menopause

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Menopause at Work

Women’s Health In The Workspace: Ways To Support Female Employees During Menopause

In the last decade women in menopause age brackets have witnessed a notable surge in workforce participation, with many choosing to remain employed longer than ever before. Often at the pinnacle of their careers, women bring invaluable experience, skills, and serve as role models to their younger colleagues. However, despite their professional prowess, many of these women tend to lack adequate support regarding menopause at work, leading to a potential reduction in job responsibilities or even exiting the workforce earlier than they wish to.

Menopausal symptoms range from physical discomforts like headaches, hot flushes, and fatigue to mental health challenges such as mood swings and reduced self-esteem. These symptoms, often overlapping, can significantly impact quality of life and hinder the performance of routine tasks, both at work and in daily life. Consequently, the menopausal transition may also impede professional performance and hinder opportunities for career advancement and growth.

Supporting menopause in the workplace

Despite the widespread impact of menopause, workplaces often lack adequate policies and resources to support individuals going through this natural transition. Support regarding menopause at work isn’t just essential for the well-being of employees; it’s also proven to be instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent.

In such a scenario, it becomes important for organisations to have a supportive and comfortable ecosystem to initiate the conversation around menopause.

But how to discuss menopause at work?

To support women experiencing menopause symptoms, employers should foster an inclusive and transparent company culture unbiased of any gender disparity.  For that, it’s crucial to create a surrounding where women feel safe and empowered to discuss their menopausal experiences openly. Additionally, educating staff on how to approach this topic with empathy, discretion, and sensitivity is essential.

Supporting women experiencing menopause in the workplace requires leading with compassion and empathy. Here are a few steps to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for female employees:

Organisations or employers may designate a menopause champion or specialist to facilitate discussions and provide guidance to colleagues on menopause-related matters.

Reviewing and adjusting employee benefits to ensure coverage for hormone replacement therapy, testing, and treatment for conditions like low bone density and heart health aid in supporting women going through menopause.

By developing a formal menopause policy to raise awareness among employees, guiding managers on making necessary accommodations, and assuring all staff members that they may bring their concerns forward in a safe and confidential manner, employers can offer support to their menopausal women.

Implementing flexible working arrangements to accommodate fluctuations in energy levels and symptoms and offering menstrual/menopause paid leave and allowing medical appointments during work hours are effective ways to demonstrate inclusivity in regard to menopause. Employers may also include temporary schedule adjustments, remote work options, or modifications to balance workload and break times.

By encouraging open discussions around menopause within Employee Resource Groups,  evaluating hiring practices to ensure there is no bias against older women regarding the the possibility of menopause and recognising the importance of acknowledging and accommodating the diverse experiences of women in the workplace, have been proven to be effective in supporting menopausal employees across organisations.

Several non profit organisations and union bodies in the UK compile resources aimed at assisting both employers and employees in navigating this phase effectively. They urge employers to  provide awareness and support tailored to this segment of their workforce.

By taking proactive steps to support women during menopause, employers can enhance employee well-being, retention, and overall workplace satisfaction. By disseminating educational articles and resources internally, employers can showcase awareness about menopause, their adaptability to it, and their readiness to provide support to affected employees.