Menopause and work: initiatives to support employees

Written by Alison Lawrence

There are very few businesses where the experience of menopause is not touching employees, yet some working women continue to experience the symptoms of menopause in silence.

In this business update, Alison Lawrence, Director at PRMA Consulting, explains five initiatives that are supporting colleagues who experience menopause symptoms at work. She also makes the case that remote working does not mean we can distance ourselves from dialogue about menopause.

The importance for businesses to support those experiencing menopause

Women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce,1 so it’s important that businesses provide the right support for employees who are either experiencing the menopause themselves or have colleagues who are experiencing it.

Research by Bupa1 shows that three out of five women worry that their menopause symptoms have a negative impact on their work, and one in four consider leaving their jobs.

With common experiences like these, it’s essential that businesses take positive steps to support workers – steps that maintain and improve the wellbeing, engagement, and productivity of those affected by the menopause.

The remote working experience of women with menopausal symptoms

The move to working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic will have benefitted some women experiencing the menopause. It may have made symptoms easier to manage, helped to lessen anxiety about being in the office, or encouraged their employers to ensure the wellbeing, engagement, and productivity of remote workers.

Conversely, I am mindful that remote working could be increasing worry and tension. The anxieties that anyone could feel when geographically detached from their colleagues can be exacerbated. For example, a woman who has had a disturbed night’s sleep due to menopausal symptoms might feel that they were too quiet in the morning online meeting with colleagues.

Remote working does not mean we can distance ourselves from dialogue about menopause. If anything, employers should continue conversations and increase their wellbeing initiatives.

Five initiatives to support employees through the menopause

Here are five initiatives in place at PRMA Consulting, a member of Fishawack Health, to improve the working life of all those affected by the menopause.

  1. Menopause policy

Our menopause policy sets out the rights of colleagues experiencing menopausal symptoms at work and explains the support channels that are available. We have a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees and are committed to ensuring that adjustments and additional support are available.

“It’s wonderful that we have a standalone policy to support colleagues who are affected by the menopause. The policy cements the company’s commitment to our wellbeing, prompts positive conversations, and shows that tailored support is readily available for anyone who needs it. Thank you for putting this in place!”

Colleague feedback

 

  1. Information about the menopause for all colleagues

All colleagues are encouraged to access our online resources, and in our offices, we display posters and leaflets . These discuss the effect that the menopause can have on our coworkers and how we are able to support those experiencing the menopause.

Providing this information has promoted open and respectful conversations about the menopause and we are grateful to those colleagues who have spoken about how their symptoms are affecting them and about their supported experience at PRMA Consulting.

Awareness days, such as World Menopause Day, give us a great opportunity to check how much we know about the menopause, to share information, and to normalize conversation, so everyone knows the support that is there if they need it.

“I now feel better equipped to be an ally to my colleagues. It’s helped me understand the changes, symptoms, and feelings that are common during menopause and will help me if a colleague does mention the menopause in conversation.”

Colleague feedback

 

  1. Support channels for colleagues affected by the menopause

Multiple channels of support are available, including trained line managers, HR, and mental health first aiders. These colleagues have the skills to support women and the ability to correctly apply company and government policy.

Colleagues can also access free, third-party support through our Employee Assistance Programme. This is important as individuals have unique needs across gender, age, social and ethnic groups, and over time – so we make sure there is access to expert support for anyone who wants it.

  1. Flexibility in working arrangements

We are sensitive to the needs of employees experiencing the menopause and aim to facilitate flexible working wherever possible. Requests for flexible working can include additional breaks, a change to the pattern of hours worked, a reduction in working hours, or permission to work from home.

  1. Welfare and health and safety aligned to the needs of women experiencing the menopause

Our risk assessments consider the specific needs of employees experiencing the menopause including temperature and ventilation, toilet facilities, access to cold drinking water, and a quiet place to rest.

Please get in touch

The menopause is a natural part of life, yet some working women continue to experience the symptoms of menopause in silence. If you would like to learn more about our initiatives to support colleagues, please get in touch or take advantage of some of the free resources in our reading list.

Further reading

  1. CIPD. Let’s talk menopause: guides for HR teams and line managers
  2. Bupa. Menopause in the workplace: helpful information for those going through the menopause or colleagues who want to support others. 
  3. Menopause Matters. Information about the menopause, menopausal symptoms, and treatment options. 
  4. Daisy Network. Support for people experiencing premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. 

 

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