Increasingly, organisations are becoming truly invested in the welfare of their employees and understand that by contributing to their well-being, both the organisation and the individual benefit.  

In particular, managers are realising the importance of supporting women in the workplace through the unique challenges that they encounter. 

Menopause is a natural part of the aging process and occurs when the woman’s menstrual cycle stops, and they can no longer become pregnant – usually this happens around the ages of 45-55 years.  It will affect most women and individuals who have a menstrual cycle, including trans people and others. 

Why act now?

* Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace – their skills and experience are key to hold onto for employers, the labour market and the economy.
* 60% of women experiencing menopausal symptoms say it has a negative effect on their work
* 1 in 4 women have considered leaving work due to their menopause

For employers, the menopause is a health and wellbeing concern for staff and needs to be handled sensitively.  Wednesday 18 October 2023 is World Menopause Day, further raising awareness, so what might organisations consider to become Menopause Friendly Employers and create a better supported workplace for those going through this? 

It is essential for employers to be aware of the symptoms to appreciate the full extent of how some employees experience menopause. 

These symptoms can be both physical and psychological and include (but are not limited to) the following, all of which can have a negative impact on an individual’s work:
Headaches, migraines, dizziness, hot sweats, anxiety, brain fog, memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings, gut problems, aching joints and muscles. 

Treatments that can help to manage symptoms are available from GPs and in the form of herbal remedies too. 

These symptoms can also be experienced during the time leading up to the Menopause (known as peri-menopause which can be from the early to mid-forties) and after menopause has occurred (known as post-menopause). 

Support does not need to be expensive or difficult, employers can make a big difference by offering a broader range of working options, considering simple adjustments to workplace environments based on an individual’s need and training line managers on how to be approachable for sensitive one-to-one conversations. 

Creating a positive and open environment at work will ensure that those experiencing menopausal symptoms that are impacting their ability to do their job, feel able to discuss their issues. This can help prevent that person:

• Feeling like they need to take time off work and hiding the reasons for it 
• Losing confidence in their skills and abilities 
• Developing mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression 
• Leaving their job.

Employers should encourage the individual to discuss their symptoms with their GP for support and consider referrals to Occupational Health, if their GP/self-care is not working. 

Perceptions around menopause are changing and forward-thinking employers are committed to becoming menopause friendly workplaces.  

There is much to be gained from supporting individuals who are negatively impacted by their menopausal symptoms; retaining key and skilled employees, increased morale & loyalty and improved services, leading to profitability and a reputation as an organisation that prioritises staff wellbeing, equality, diversity and inclusion.  

Menopause friendly organisations are places where people want to work. 

Please let us know if we can help you implementing this within your organisation.