Menopause is a significant life transition that affects millions of women worldwide. Yet, despite its prevalence, discussions about menopause in the workplace have often been met with silence or discomfort. The CIPD reports that two-thirds (67%) of women, aged 40 to 60 in employment, with experience of menopausal symptoms say they have had a mostly negative effect on them at work.

However, as awareness grows and attitudes shift, there is increasing recognition of the need to address menopause openly and supportively within work environments. In this blog, we explore the impact of menopause on women in the workplace and discuss strategies for creating supportive workplace cultures that empower menopausal employees.

Understanding the Impact

Menopause can bring a range of physical, emotional, and cognitive changes that can impact work performance and well-being. Common symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating can make it challenging for women to navigate their professional responsibilities effectively.

Breaking the Silence

One of the most significant barriers to supporting menopausal women in the workplace is the stigma and silence surrounding the topic. Many women feel uncomfortable discussing their menopausal symptoms with colleagues or managers, fearing judgment or discrimination. As a result, they may suffer in silence, leading to decreased job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being.

Creating Supportive Workplace Cultures

To support menopausal employees effectively, workplaces must cultivate environments where open dialogue about menopause is encouraged and normalised. This involves raising awareness among employees and managers about the impact of menopause and providing education on how to support colleagues experiencing symptoms.

Offering flexible working arrangements can be particularly beneficial for menopausal women. Flexible hours, remote work options, and the ability to take breaks as needed can help women manage their symptoms and maintain productivity. Additionally, providing access to quiet, private spaces where women can rest or cool down during hot flashes can make a significant difference. Recent changes in flexible working law have meant that employees have a day one right to request flexible working, it is vital that you understand your obligations. We can help you with this!

Temperature regulation in the workplace is crucial for menopausal women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. Employers can implement measures such as adjustable thermostats, fans, and access to cool drinking water to help women manage their symptoms and stay comfortable while working.

Training Programmes and Supportive Resources

Employers can also benefit from implementing training and awareness programmes to educate managers and colleagues about menopause. These programmes can help reduce stigma, increase empathy, and equip employees with the knowledge and tools to support their menopausal colleagues effectively.

Providing access to resources such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counselling services, and healthcare resources can help women navigate their menopausal symptoms and access the support they need. Employers can also offer information about community support groups or online forums where women can connect with others going through similar experiences.

Legal Obligations

Recent Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) guidance states that if menopause symptoms have a long-term and substantial impact on a woman’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, they may be considered a disability. Therefore, under the Equality Act 2010, employers will be under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments and to not discriminate directly or indirectly against the employee. So, if you are unsure of what you need to do to support employees going through the menopause then get in touch to ensure you are complying with your legal obligation!

It is best practice to have a policy focusing on menopause to enable you to best support your employees, at Hallidays HR we can assist you in developing this policy, and rolling it out, we can also provide training for employees and roll out any initiatives.

Conclusion

Menopause is a natural and significant life transition that impacts women in various ways, including their experiences in the workplace. By breaking the silence surrounding menopause and implementing supportive policies and practices, employers can create environments where menopausal women feel valued, understood, and empowered to thrive. Together, we can foster workplace cultures that prioritise the well-being and success of all employees, regardless of age or life stage.

Support for employees going through the menopause is more than just implementing policies and procedures. With our services, we can help you to implement and roll out effective strategies and initiatives for dealing with menopause in the workplace such as menopause champions, information sessions and support groups.

At Hallidays HR, we offer a variety of services to assist you in navigating the complexities of a multi-generational workforce. Whether you’re looking to recruit new talent, develop bespoke onboarding processes, or provide line manager training, we are here to support you throughout the entire employee life cycle. If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 476 8276 or email hr@hallidayshr.co.uk. And of course, visit our LinkedIn page.