How businesses can navigate the 'menopause maze' - expert
26th February 2024
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Menopause, once a taboo subject, is now gaining prominence in public discussions – from news segments to casual conversations in coffee shops, and it's increasingly becoming a topic of conversation in the workplace. This shift towards openness is a positive development, yet it underscores the growing need for businesses to adeptly support employees navigating through menopause. DR ALICE DUFFY founder of HEALTH IN MENOPAUSE and a leading voice in menopause advocacy, recently opened her second clinic in Sutton Coldfield. Here, Dr. Duffy shares invaluable advice for businesses striving to create a supportive and inclusive environment for employees experiencing menopause.

The impact of menopause on the workforce

Menopause, a natural stage in the life of individuals with ovaries, profoundly impacts both personal and professional lives. The Fawcett Society's statistics are alarming: 1 in 10 women have resigned from their jobs due to intense menopausal symptoms, a fact that poses significant challenges for workforce management. Symptoms such as hot flushes, urinary infections, and depression not only affect personal wellbeing but also impair professional performance. Businesses thus face the dual challenge of losing seasoned employees and incurring costs related to recruitment and training. In light of this, understanding common menopausal symptoms and considering workplace adjustments becomes essential.

Common menopausal symptoms and workplace adjustments

Key menopausal symptoms impacting work performance include psychological changes like anxiety and low mood, physical discomforts like heavy periods and hot flushes, and other challenges like fatigue and concentration difficulties. To support employees experiencing these symptoms, employers can adopt practical measures where possible, these include, flexible working arrangements, accessible toilet facilities, suitable uniform options, desk fans, and effective ventilation. Above all, empathetic and well-informed management is vital in helping employees feel supported and empowered to manage their symptoms effectively.

Developing supportive workplace policies

Creating comprehensive menopause policies is crucial for nurturing a supportive workplace culture. Employers can turn to resources and guidelines from ACAS, UNISON, and CIPD for assistance. Such policies should aim to raise awareness, provide clear information, and specify support measures for menopausal employees. They should offer practical advice on adjustments to support employees with symptoms like hot flushes, insomnia, and cognitive or mental health challenges.

Incorporating menopause into workplace wellness programs

Inclusion of menopausal support in workplace wellness programs is imperative. This can be achieved through regular staff engagement via questionnaires or dialogues, informative sessions led by menopause specialists, and appointing Menopause Champions. Hosting menopause café events and ensuring access to specialist care are additional effective strategies. These initiatives not only assist in managing symptoms but also empower employees to make informed health decisions.

Training for HR professionals and managers

HR professionals and managers are integral in supporting menopausal employees. Training should focus on recognising menopause symptoms, understanding their impact on work, and honing effective communication skills. Managers should be equipped with the necessary resources and support to handle these situations adeptly.

Future trends and preparation

As awareness grows, so do expectations from employers. The normalisation of menopause-related discussions and their integration into regular employee reviews are gaining importance. A notable trend is the increasing demand for menopause coverage in private healthcare benefits. Employers can respond proactively by negotiating with healthcare providers or offering direct funding for private menopause care.

Supporting employees through menopause transcends corporate responsibility; it's a strategic business decision. Through informed policies, targeted support, and fostering an environment of understanding and openness, businesses can retain valuable staff, boost productivity, and cultivate a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture. 

For more information on how we can assist your business with support, education for staff and management, resources for women, and access to consultations and treatment, please contact info@healthinmenopause.co.uk

 
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About the Author

Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Presenter Black Country Radio & Black Country Xtra

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