Menopause and the workplace

13 million women in the UK are going through perimenopause or menopause RIGHT NOW! So why is it still considered a taboo subject? Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen a massive change since the Davina McCall effect and her mission to raise awareness and break the silence. Menopause is an inherent part of a woman’s life journey, yet many women endure it quietly. Numerous organisations neglect to recognise that their female staff will encounter this phase at some point and to understand the importance of offering support and implementing measures to ensure their employees’ comfort in the workplace.

Shockingly 1 in 4 women consider leaving work during menopause, and 1 in 10 leave their job due to their symptoms. With over 660 million women worldwide heading for menopause and half of those in the workplace, this is a huge number of women who due to the lack of support could leave a job they love.

Employers and workplaces must be proactive in addressing menopause-related issues by implementing supportive policies and practices. Women must also break the silence and actively voice their experiences and challenges related to menopause. There are many things that employers can do to support their workforce affected by menopause including:

  • Be flexible – Consider offering flexible scheduling and remote work options when necessary. Those affected by severe symptoms in the early hours might work more productively into the evening.
  • Adapt the work environment – Provide fans and make office spaces as comfortable as possible. If your company has a uniform or dress code, make the fabric breathable or relax the code.
  • Listen – It’s imperative for managers to attentively listen to their employees’ requirements. Each individual experiences unique symptoms, and we all have distinct coping mechanisms.
  • Produce a formal policy – Having something in writing will give comfort to those concerned over job security. It will enable women to feel safe in bringing their concerns forward.
  • Provide a menopause champion / Focus Group – Sharing is truly caring – experience sharing will help employees feel united. This should also not be restricted to just women, as men could have partners suffering at home.
  • Provide training and education to all – Raising awareness to the workforce allows for a greater understanding of the symptoms their colleagues might be going through. It will create allyship in the workplace and will create a more comfortable environment to work in for all.

Supporting menopause at work is not only about creating a more inclusive and equal workplace but also about fostering employee well-being, productivity, and overall organisational health. Companies must be forward-thinking and compassionate to support their employees through several life changes. At BB7 we pride ourselves on putting our people first and have recognised that in a male-dominated industry we must go above and beyond to ensure our women feel comfortable in seeking support from us.

Rebecca Bower, Marketing Director at BB7, stated, “Education is key for all, not just our female workforce. We will all experience the symptoms of menopause, whether that’s firsthand or via a family member or colleague. We must break the taboo and ensure that we can talk about these topics. At BB7 we are offering education sessions through our Learning Lounge platform to give the facts and hear firsthand from individuals who have been affected by menopause.”

For those wanting to find out more on menopause and how it can affect you at work, there are many resources available, including:

What is the menopause? Symptoms & causes | Benenden Health

Menopause and the workplace (nhsinform.scot)

Menopause – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Let’s Talk Menopause – Irish Life Health

My Menopause Centre | Information & Advice from Menopause Experts