Menopause in the Workplace

Menopause can significantly impact a person’s life, putting them through an emotional, physical, and mental struggle. As an employer, it is your responsibility to step in and make changes to support those going through this process. 

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Health Assured team

01 July 2022

Many employees in your organisation are likely to be struggling with menopause at work. UK statistics suggest that approximately 13 million people are either peri- or post-menopausal. As a result, you must work to understand the impacts of menopause and how to support your staff.

This article will cover what menopause is, why it's important to support employees, and how to introduce a menopause policy in your workplace.

What is menopause in the workplace?

Menopause is a natural stage of ageing that anyone can experience. The onset usually occurs between ages 45 and 55 (when oestrogen levels begin to decline). During this time, a person will stop having periods and can no longer conceive without medical help. 

The menopause transition affects each individual differently. The signs and symptoms vary from person to person; and are often misunderstood. Many employees do not disclose their symptoms for fear of discrimination–meaning they may be suffering in silence.

What are common symptoms of menopause?

Here are some common signs and symptoms of menopause: 

  • Hot flushes.
  • Insomnia and night sweats.
  • Irregular periods and heavy bleeding.
  • Painful menstruation cramps.
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism.
  • Vaginal irritation.
  • Joint stiffness, aches and pains.

From this list, it is evident how an employee’s workload can become difficult. What were once simple tasks now become strenuous, causing employees to feel demotivated and disengaged. 

Watch our "Menopause" podcast episode with Health Assured's Head of Clinical Support, Kayleigh Frost, discussing with Nicola Thompson about the best way to cope with everyday life whilst dealing with the menopause.

Why is supporting menopause at work important?

According to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), 8 out of 10 menopausal people are in work. This statistic further highlights the likeliness that many employees may be undergoing hormonal changes associated with menopause.

As an employer, you must work to alleviate these symptoms; helping to improve employee health, wellbeing, and performance. 

For many menopausal people, going to work and being successful is beneficial. It provides a sense of fulfilment and helps boost self-esteem. Your organisation will also benefit from higher morale, keep valuable talent, and reduce sickness absence. 

How to manage menopause at work 

To help your organisation develop a positive workplace, we have listed several factors to consider when dealing with menopause at work:

  • Educate all employees: Gain a better understanding of menopause by researching the subject. By becoming more knowledgeable on the issue, managers and supervisors will become more approachable.
  • Help strengthen relationships: Ask employees how they're feeling and conduct regular check-ins. These can provide a comfortable platform to voice any concerns.
  • Provide reasonable adjustments: When an employee’s mental and physical health is affected, provide them with reasonable adjustments. These might include flexible work hours, reduced workload, or additional equipment.
  • Treat cases individually: Every person in your organisation is different–so treat cases individually. Do not assume that every menopause-related problem has the same solution. 
  • Review all issues raised: Raising a health issue to a manager can difficult, especially if their supervisor is of the opposite sex. All managers must approach conversations with empathy and not be embarrassed when discussing the issue in question.

Menopause at work policy

Coping with menopause at work can be difficult for many employees. According to recent statistics, 72% of menopausal employees say they feel unsupported in work.

Many believe they are unable to openly discuss menopause with their superiors. And many organisations across the UK struggle with providing the right menopause at work guidance.

To tackle this, one of the first steps you can take is creating a menopause policy. Here are some factors to include in your menopause policy at work:

  • Communication: It is essential for employees to talk about health concerns like menopause. Discuss how it may affect them during work and how you can offer support.
  • Confidentiality: Once they bring up the subject, the conversation must be kept confidential. Employees should know they can trust your organisation with personal problems.
  • Understanding: You can provide workshops on menopause rights at work and how to handle situations with employees.

Health Assured can help you support employees through the menopause 

Over time, social stigma has resulted in menopause becoming a taboo subject. The negative perceptions surrounding menopause mean it is often overlooked in the workplace. 

Health Assured recognises the importance of menopause awareness and support in the workplace. To highlight the importance of this, we’ve signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge. We’re committed to supporting our employees through this stage of their career, and we want to help other organisations provide this support too.

At Health Assured, our experts can help transform your workplace into one of support and openness on menopause. We can help you and your staff through challenging periods at work with our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).  

Support your employees with menopause

Our Employee Assistance Programme provides manager guidance on CBT for menopause and general wellbeing at work. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all employees.

We can also support all your employees with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

If you have any questions, call us on 0800 206 2532

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