Being a 21st Century Employer – Supporting Women Through Menopause
Menopause is a reproductive life stage for any woman when they can no longer conceive and stop having periods. This period (and perimenopause that comes before) is associated with different symptoms, such as hot flushes, trouble sleeping, low mood and anxiety, which can often be disruptive to their daily lives.
Why should employers care about menopause?
Over 12 million women and gender diverse people at the workplace in the UK are currently going through menopause, and this is something that awaits every female in their lifetimes. However, many workplaces do not have any policies that support women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.
A 2019 survey found that 90% of perimenopausal and menopausal women thought their symptoms negatively impacted their work. Yet, most women who noticed deterioration in their performance did not feel able to discuss their experiences with a manager, worsening transparency in employee-manager communication and, as a result, overall company performance.
Recent research by Bupa Health Clinics found that almost a million women left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms and the lack of workplace support to help them cope with them. This loss of nurtured and experienced talent costs the company in talent and productivity.
This is why a forward-thinking employer should consider taking steps towards better support systems for menopausal women at the workplace to continue fostering an inclusive and supportive environment and retaining the most experienced female talent.
How can you be a menopause friendly employer?
Here are tips on how to best support employees through their menopausal journeys at the workplace:
Create a safe environment for menopausal women.
There is evidence suggesting that an unsupportive environment at work may aggravate menopausal symptoms. Educate your employees to break the stigma around reproductive health to make women more comfortable discussing their menopausal symptoms with their managers. Ensure that your managers know how to ask questions and listen to answers without judgement.
Keep an open mind about the menopausal journey.
Everyone will have a different experience of menopause. Some may have no symptoms, but others may go through a completely different journey, where work may feel unbearable. Be respectful of each individual’s experiences and receptive to their needs to figure out how to best support them.
Offer educational workshops, group activities and training sessions to increase menopause awareness.
Most people don’t know much about menopause until they are already experiencing symptoms that they cannot explain. This knowledge gap can seriously impact their mental health and performance at work. Provide educational opportunities for your employees through trusted reproductive health experts such as Hertility Health to close this gap.
Make adjustments to your employees working environment.
Even small changes can go a long way in making the workplace more comfortable for your employees. Consider providing a dark room with an option for adjustable temperature, having a menopause specific absence policy or introducing flexible working hours to attend doctor’s appointments.
Provide an all-encompassing reproductive health benefits package.
Over half of those experiencing menopause in the UK cannot access menopause specific services locally. By offering these services as benefits, including menopause testing and counselling, you can better support your employees.
About Hertility Health
Hertility Health is shaping the future of Reproductive Health by giving women the ability to understand and manage their fertility and hormone health from menstruation to menopause. 1 in 3 women suffer from a reproductive health issue, yet conversations around fertility, menopause and menstrual symptoms are still stigmatised in the workplace. As employees suffer in silence – up to £4k is lost per year per employee due to reduced productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.
To learn more about our Reproductive Health Education and Benefits for Employers, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website https://hertilityhealth.com/benefits