Menopause in the workplace is a hot topic. However, it’s easy to switch off and think it doesn’t affect you. In reality, it’s a huge issue as menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the UK workforce. Even if the subject doesn’t apply to you, it applies to many of your colleagues. Additionally, how an employer manages menopause at work reflects how they take care of their employees. It’s a good indication of how good an employer they are.
Menopause and the workplace
An individual’s menopause won’t necessarily affect their work, but it might. Some women find the transition is met with a raft of symptoms that make it harder to manage their working life as they did previously. It’s important to talk about menopause openly and ensure employees have the right support in place. Symptoms can start many years before the menopause, which has an average age of 51. Given that 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms, with 1 in 4 finding their symptoms serious, employers need to take a dedicated approach.
How can the menopause impact work?
There is not a single answer to this question as menopause affects different women in different ways.
Women may experience physical symptoms that make work more difficult, such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety, low mood, poor concentration, erratic and heavy periods, and even low self-esteem and confidence. Many women don’t feel comfortable sharing their difficulties with their managers. By ensuring that managers are well-trained in understanding the menopause and how to help, workplaces can create a more open culture for talking about it.
Employers who don’t help their menopausal staff manage their symptoms at work lose out on talent. Their retention rates dwindle. This is particularly true in sectors that have been traditionally female-heavy, such as personal assistants and office support.
If employers want to both attract and retain a diverse workforce—which has many benefits—then they need to create an environment where the menopause is normalised and there are policies in place to support staff. Making adjustments for menopausal women will also help lower absence rates, improve productivity, and increase organisational reputation.
What should candidates look for?
When choosing a new employer, look at all of their policies, not just those which immediately apply to you. It’s useful to know, for example, how the organisation manages bullying, even if you’ve never been a victim yourself. Looking at workplace policies can teach you more about the organisation’s culture and how you will fit in.
Specifically, those recruited at management level and above should know that they will be supported to help women in their teams. Women of menopausal age, or approaching it, will feel more confident in taking a role in an organisation with a clear and explicit menopause policy. Employers have a general duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their staff, and while they don’t have any specific responsibilities with regards to the menopause, they should treat everyone fairly.
Are you looking for a fair employer?
There are many ways to tell if an employer you are considering is a fair and forward-thinking one. A menopause policy is one way to know that they consider their workforce’s needs carefully, and shape an inclusive and comfortable working environment.
Let us help you find a fair employer. Register as a candidate.
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