Businesses are dealing with a pandemic at the moment, so it may seem a bit irrelevant to be talking about menopause. But at this time employers need all their people to be working at their optimum more than ever.
Research has shown that around 75% of women have menopause symptoms that affect them at work. That same research has shown that with some practical support from their employers, their symptoms can be managed and they can work more efficiently.
Globally there are more women over 50 in the workplace than ever before and it is the fastest growing demographic. That means that menopause symptoms that affect performance at work is a fast-growing issue. And, of course, it doesn’t just affect women over 50. Symptoms can start much earlier and for a variety of reasons such as hysterectomy or treatment for cancer.
The Impact of Symptoms
When women are experiencing symptoms at work it can affect their concentration, focus, and confidence, and can lead to time lost through sickness absence. This affects women at all levels and in all roles within organisations.
A significant number of women consider leaving their careers when they are unsupported. This means that you may be losing knowledgeable and experienced employees without knowing why. Plus, there is the considerable cost of recruiting and training replacements.
There are simple practical changes to the workplace that employers can put in place. For example, in the book I talk about something as affordable as providing a desk fan to ease hot flushes. What is really important is to create a workplace culture where women feel safe and comfortable to ask for the support they need.
Generally, talking about menopause in the workplace is a bit of a taboo. Women find it difficult to discuss with their managers what they are experiencing and how it is affecting them. A supportive culture is one in which the organisation has raised awareness of menopause and created opportunities for open discussion and learning on the subject.
For larger organisations there are further benefits to creating a more strategic approach to awareness, training and communication. That may be extending a wellness programme or policies that are already in place. For organisations that are just setting out down this path it may be as simple as a staff survey to understand what employees and managers need.
Some organisations have successfully appointed Menopause Champions. This is a low cost and high impact solution to providing a communication channel between employees and managers. The role also provides a focus point for providing information to women employees.
This subject has been a taboo for too long. We need to break that taboo so that women and businesses can thrive.
There’s so much more I could tell you! My new book, ‘Menopause: Mind the Gap: The value of supporting women’s wellness in the workplace’ is available now mybook.to/MMTG.
For more information about the services I offer contact me .