How To Support Menopause in the Workplace

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • What menopause is.
  • What the symptoms of menopause are.
  • How menopause affects women in the workplace.
  • The legal protection women have for menopause.
  • How workplaces can support menopause in the workplace.
  • Discover more about our recruitment services

Looking for ways to support women experiencing menopause in your workplace? Want to know how menopause impacts women’s wellbeing at work?

According to CIPD, around one in six people (17%) have considered leaving work due to a lack of support in relation to their menopause symptoms, and a further 6% have left their workplace, so knowing how to support women experiencing the menopause as an employer is vital.

Throughout this blog, you’ll learn how menopause affects women and how to support menopause in the workplace.

What is menopause?

Menopause describes the process of a woman's menstrual cycle ending due to lower hormone levels and usually affects women between 45 and 55 years of age. Menopause can happen naturally or as a result of surgery to remove the uterus or ovaries. It can also occur after cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy.

According to the British Menopause Society, not all women will experience symptoms when they go through the menopause. Up to 80-90% will have some symptoms however, with 25% describing them as severe and debilitating, this can have significant implications for women at work.

Some of the most common menopause symptoms are:

  • Hot flushes.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Low mood or anxiety.
  • Problems with memory and concentration.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Loss of self-confidence.

How does menopause affect women in the workplace? 

Menopause can significantly impact women in the workplace. Symptoms such as hot flushes, difficulty sleeping and low mood or anxiety can lead to discomfort and distraction which can reduce productivity and job performance. 

Cognitive changes caused by the menopause, such as problems with memory and concentration, can also impact a woman’s productivity in the workplace. 

The lack of awareness surrounding menopause can also lead to inadequate support for women from their colleagues, contributing to more stress and anxiety for them. According to Forth With Life, 90% of workplaces have no formal support for women experiencing menopause.

Addressing these challenges is crucial for creating a more inclusive workplace.  

What are the legal rights for women going through the menopause in the workplace

Under the Equality Act 2010, employees are protected from victimisation, harassment and discrimination related to age, disability, sex and gender reassignment. If menopause symptoms have a substantial long term impact on a woman's ability to complete standard day to day tasks, these symptoms can be considered as a disability. 

If menopause symptoms are seen as a disability, employers will be under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments, one of which might be introducing flexible working. 

How to support menopause in the workplace 

Supporting employees going through the menopause is essential for creating an inclusive workplace. By implementing effective measures, employers can mitigate the challenges, ensuring that all employees feel supported during the menopause.

Here are some effective strategies employers can use to support women experiencing menopause in the workplace: 

  • Allow flexible working.
  • Give the option to take more regular breaks.
  • Develop a menopause policy. 
  • Educate and train staff on the impact of menopause.
  • Create an open communication environment.
  • Create tailored support programmes .

Allow flexible working

Employers should consider allowing flexible working for women going through the menopause as it can improve their mental wellbeing and productivity.

Menopause carries symptoms such as hot flushes, problems with concentration and anxiety, which can be challenging to manage in a work environment. 

Flexible working can help women better cope with these symptoms, reduce stress and maintain productivity. This could mean that if women’s symptoms are particularly debilitating one day, they might have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their own home or if they need a day off, they can make up the hours at another time.

Give the option to take more regular breaks

Allowing women to take more regular breaks when going through the menopause might help reduce symptoms such as stress and anxiety.

Employers could create a quiet, comfortable room for women to go and destress or take 5 minutes when they need it. They could also encourage women to get some fresh air when experiencing hot flushes or go for a quick walk to reduce headaches. 

Getting outdoors can be beneficial as natural light and fresh air can help to improve a person’s mood. This is because natural light causes our bodies to release serotonin which is essential for regulating an individual's mood.

Develop a menopause policy

A menopause policy is used to outline a business approach when employees are going through the menopause. The main aim of the policy is to make sure women feel supported in the workplace and the policy should be shared across the whole business and regularly reviewed. 

Here are some things you could include in your policy:

  • Information surrounding the menopause and related symptoms in order to spread awareness amongst staff.
  • The intention of the policy in order to clarify why it has been created.
  • The aims of the policy to demonstrate that the workplace will support women experiencing menopause.
  • The laws surrounding menopause, such as the Equality Act 2010, which could be breached if an employee is treated less favourably because of their symptoms.
  • Information regarding the support available at work for women going through the menopause so they know where to access help if required.
  • Any other procedures your business has implemented regarding the menopause.

Educate and train staff on the impact of menopause

Educating and training employees on the menopause in the workplace is extremely important because employees should be aware of how menopause can impact women at work. 

Offering menopause training gives employees the knowledge to support women going through it, which can have a positive impact on their wellbeing and job performance.

Here are some training courses you could implement in the workplace:

Create an open communication environment

Creating a space where women feel comfortable to speak about the menopause and address any concerns they have regarding their menopause is vital for creating an inclusive workplace. 

Having regular conversations and listening to any concerns women have can help resolve issues early. Creating a culture that encourages open communication can create trust amongst employees.

Create tailored support programmes

Creating tailored support programmes for women going through the menopause is important to making sure women feel like their health is valued.

By offering tailored support programmes such as health support, counselling services and educational workshops, employers can help mitigate these challenges, leading to increased employee retention, reduced absenteeism, and a more engaged workforce.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

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