It’s Menopause Awareness Day – 18 October 2023!
If you know a woman aged 45-55, the chances are that you know someone going through the menopausal stage of her life. On Menopause Awareness Day, we share some ways to put the menopause on your workplace wellbeing agenda – and the benefits this will have for your organisation overall.
The menopause is a natural, biological process that every female member of the adult population goes through. Its effects range from physical to mental, psychological and emotional, and the impact of the disruption it brings can be far-reaching for the women experiencing it, and those around them – at home and in the workplace.
It’s only recently that menopause has been brought into the spotlight as a time of major change and turmoil that so many around us are going through. This new focus, and a desire to understand and support women going through the different stages of menopause, will bring great benefits to businesses and society more widely – but it does mean that organisations need to take action as well.
Here’s an explanation of why it’s so important to bring menopause awareness and consideration into your organisation, and steps you can take to do so – supporting every member of your team, whether they’re going through it themselves, or working alongside those who are.
Why Menopause Support is Important
If you know a woman aged 45-55, the chances are high that you know someone going through the menopausal stage of her life.
Given the broad spectrum of menopausal symptoms and their effects, acknowledging and accommodating the menopause is an important part of creating an inclusive and supportive culture, which brings many benefits for your business (see our previous post on how an inclusive culture can elevate what you and your teams can achieve here.
It is also going to become a vital part of your staff retention strategy. So many women suffer symptoms that make it difficult for them to remain in the workplace, because they don’t have the support there from their employers, or the right medical advice to address and manage their symptoms. If you make a conscious effort as an employer to provide what support you can, you are far more likely to retain staff who have knowledge and expertise – and it will be great for fostering goodwill and company loyalty, too.
Practical Steps to Take
Because menopause has not really been a significant consideration in the past – and even a taboo subject for some – it can be difficult to know what you as an employer can do to give that support. Here are some ideas for putting it firmly on your staff wellbeing agenda.
- Education and openness: encourage open discussion about the menopause and its potential impact on performance and wellbeing. This can be done as part of your overall wellbeing strategy, so that managers are also aware of the signs and symptoms in their teams and can provide appropriate support, just as they would for other mental and physical health issues. We offer workplace training and awareness sessions, so it’s well worth investing in one of those to provide a good education and knowledge of what to expect, for everyone in your organisation.
- Ask your team: Seek feedback from your employees about what they would like to see you include to accommodate for the menopause, and encourage them to speak openly with managers.
- Flexible working: allow paid time off to attend appointments or manage severe symptoms and consider adopting a flexible policy for managing less severe symptoms without fear of negative consequences.
- Short breaks: promote the use of your rest or breakout areas as places to stretch, hydrate, cool down and manage symptoms – whether it’s physical ones like hot flushes, or hidden ones like anxiety. You could consider providing personal fans at desks to support with those physical symptoms as well.
- Embed it: write menopausal matters specifically into your inclusion policies and procedures, to consolidate it as a priority for your business, and to demonstrate your zero tolerance to any harassment or discrimination. To help you we’ve written a Menopause policy which you can download for free here.
Bring menopausal matters into your workplace, and you’ll be supporting members of your team at a critical and often tumultuous and distressing time in their lives. Knowing that their issues will be met with understanding and care will make a huge difference to the impact of the menopause, and will benefit your organisation too – building on your inclusive and welcoming culture, and ultimately increasing your staff retention and productivity.
Every organisation is different, and the effects of menopause are different for everyone too. If you’d like chat about how to promote the menopause in your business, manage its impact, support your employees and managers get in touch with us at Haus of HR for some expert advice.