In the ever-evolving landscape of modern workplaces, creating a culture of inclusivity, understanding, and support is paramount. As businesses strive to create environments where every employee feels valued, it’s essential to address the unique challenges and transitions that people go through during different phases of their lives. Menopause is one such phase that deserves special attention. Menopause Awareness Day serves as an opportune moment to shed light on this important aspect of employee wellbeing.
Since 2009, the IMS (International Menopause Society) alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) have also designated the month of October as World Menopause Awareness Month.
The purpose of World Menopause Awareness month is to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. It’s important to continually open up the conversation on the less talked about aspects of our health, such as the menopause.
According to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), nearly 8 out of 10 of menopausal women are in work. This short guide is designed to empower employers and managers with the knowledge, tools, and strategies they need to navigate the complexities of menopause in the workplace. By recognising the impact of menopause and offering meaningful support, you not only retain talent but also create a more inclusive and productive work environment for everyone.
Here are our top 10 practical steps to help raise the profile of menopause in your business.
#1 Train Managers
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, typically occurring in her late 40s or early 50s. However, the impact of menopause isn’t limited to the individual experiencing it; it can also affect the workplace. As an employer or manager, understanding menopause and taking appropriate steps to support your employees can significantly enhance workplace wellbeing and productivity. It’s vital to provide resources for both employees and managers. You may also want to consider offering workshops or training courses on menopause awareness. Internal links to these resources can help educate your staff and make them feel valued.
#2 Be Aware of Menopause Symptoms
First and foremost, it’s essential to recognise the common menopause symptoms your employees might experience. These symptoms can range from hot flushes and night sweats to mood swings and difficulty concentrating. These sudden surges of heat can be disruptive, leading to discomfort and sleep disturbances. Consider implementing flexible work arrangements to help employees manage these symptoms more comfortably. Be aware that these symptoms can vary in intensity and duration among individuals.
#3 Open Communication
Creating a workplace culture that acknowledges menopause is crucial. Encourage open discussions and provide resources to educate both employees and managers about menopause and its potential impact on work performance and overall wellbeing. Sharing relevant statistics can be a powerful tool to raise awareness. Share data on the prevalence of menopause in the workplace and the positive outcomes of supportive policies and practices. These statistics can be an eye-opener for employers and help drive positive change.
#4 Support and Understand Treatment Options
Understanding the variety of treatment options available for managing menopause symptoms is also important. Some women may consider hormone replacement therapy, while others may prefer alternative methods. Support your employees in making informed decisions by offering access to resources and medical information.
#5 Risk Assessment
Every workplace should conduct a risk assessment to identify any potential safety hazards that may be exacerbated by menopausal symptoms. For instance, poor concentration due to menopause could impact a worker’s ability to operate heavy machinery or drive safely. By identifying and mitigating these risks, you contribute to a safer work environment.
#6 Make adjustments to retain talent
Losing valuable employees due to menopausal symptoms is not ideal for any organisation. By providing necessary adjustments and support, you can retain experienced talent, ensuring the continuity of productivity and knowledge within your workforce. Flexibility is key when accommodating employees experiencing menopausal symptoms and shows your commitment to employee wellbeing.
#7 Think beyond awareness days
Promote menopause awareness in your workplace, not just on Menopause Awareness Day, but throughout the year. Use various channels, such as company newsletters and internal communication platforms, to share articles, personal stories, and updates related to menopause. Encourage open dialogue and support networks among employees.
#8 Integrate with Employee Wellbeing Initiatives
Menopause awareness can be integrated into your company’s overall employee wellbeing initiatives. Design programs that address the physical and emotional aspects of menopause. Encourage employees to make the most of wellness programs, such as yoga, meditation, or exercise classes, which can help alleviate some menopausal symptoms and improve overall health.
#9 Recognising the Impact on Mental Health
Menopause can impact mental health as well. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are common during this phase. Consider offering access to counselling services or employee assistance programmes to support employee’s mental wellbeing.
#10 Build Support Networks
Encourage the formation of support networks within your organisation. This can be in the form of employee resource groups or informal peer support groups. Connecting with others who are experiencing or have experienced menopause can provide a sense of community and shared understanding.
Don’t forget to measure the impact of your menopause awareness initiatives. Survey your employees to gather feedback and insights on the effectiveness of the support provided and use this feedback to make necessary adjustments and continually improve your approach.
Remember that your employees are your most valuable assets. By recognising and addressing the challenges they face during menopause, you can build a stronger, more inclusive, and more productive workforce. Menopause awareness is not just a one-day initiative; it’s an ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of your team. Embrace it, and you’ll create a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.
Health@Work offer a range of menopause awareness course, plus an employee assistance programme that also includes a menopause support helpline. To find out more, visit www.healthatworkcentre.org.uk or call 0151 236 6608.