Written by Helen Bailey, Head of L&D
The 18th of October is World Menopause Day and according to BUPA Healthcare 900,000 women in the UK have left their jobs completely due to menopause-related symptoms. Let’s take a moment to reflect on how this impacts women in the workplace.
In some cases, this still feels like a taboo subject. Vodafone research highlights 50% of women felt there was a stigma around discussing this in the workplace.
So, let’s start by establishing the terms
- Perimenopause is the phase leading up to the menopause, when a woman’s hormone balance starts to change. It is worth noting that in the Vodaphone research 79% of 18 – 44 years old highlighted that menopause had affected them at work.
- Menopause is when your periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
The impact this has varies from individual to individual. In fact, there are 34 physiological and psychological symptoms which include
- Hot Flushes
- Sleep disturbances
- Joint Pain
- Tingling Extremities
- Panic Attacks
CIPD research notes that 6 in 10 women say that Menopause has had a negative impact on them at work. Given the stigma around these discussions and that stress can often make the symptoms worse – what can help in the workplace?
The CIPD have some great suggestions and resources to get you started including
- Not making assumptions that everyone’s symptoms are the same
- Having a sensitive conversation with someone at work, either your Line Manager or a colleague
- Having daily catch ups with your Line Manager to discuss prioritising workloads
- Have Menopause Champions to provide a safe point of contact
- Changes to working patterns or start times to accommodate extra sleep following a disruptive night
- Access to cold drinking water throughout the day
- Providing a desk fan
It seems the key is to normalise having conversations around this in the workplace and remember that not everyone will want to share so be respectful of boundaries.
A good first start is offering Menopause Awareness training, this is where we come in. To find out about our training courses and how we can help support your workforce, contact us at [email protected].