Menopause in the workplace
Today is World Menopause Day. Held every year on the 18th of October, the day aims to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing.
The Menopause: Tackling the Taboo
Despite being a natural stage in a woman’s life, the menopause is often viewed as a taboo subject, one which is rarely discussed except in hushed tones or, worse, via uncomfortable jokes.
According to the Office of National Statistics, in the UK there are now more than 4.3 million women in employment aged between 50-65 and almost one third of women in the workplace are in the core menopause and/or perimenopausal age, which is defined as between 45-64.
Of these women, the British Menopause Society (BMS) have found that 45% feel that their menopausal symptoms have had a negative impact on them at work and, perhaps more worryingly, 72% of menopausal women in work say they feel unsupported.
How the menopause can affect work
The menopause is not a medical condition, it is a natural phase of life for all women; however, the falling progesterone and erratic oestrogen production that women typically experience can lead to:
- loss of confidence
- mild anxiety
- poor concentration
- memory loss
- feeling low
- poor sleep
- hot flushes
These physical and psychological changes can be mild for some, but others find the symptoms so serious that it is difficult for them to keep working as usual.
How can you support women at work?
- Educate yourself and your colleagues on the menopause and what it means in the workplace.
- Normalise the menopause. Encourage conversations and openly discuss the wide range of symptoms associated with it – it is not just hot flushes!
- Allow reasonable adjustments (where appropriate) to support colleagues who are experiencing symptoms.
- Celebrate the menopause! Embrace that it is a natural phase of life and help women experiencing menopausal symptoms to reach their potential.
What Medigold Health are doing
As part of our commitment to better support our employees who may be going through the menopause, Medigold Health have introduced a new Menopause Policy, which aims to ensure colleagues can:
- feel empowered to seek adjustments to ease symptoms without embarrassment
- can carry out their daily role in a safe working environment, whether at home or in the office
- can have open discussions with their Line Managers and co-workers so that they feel included and supported
To support the policy, we have also developed a Manager Guidance document to help all our line managers understand how they can support employees experiencing symptoms of the menopause.
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