Tackling menopause in the workplace
Did you know, women of menopausal age are the fastest-growing demographic of the UK workforce? Menopause usually occurs in between 45 and 55 years of age and increased rates of employment among women aged 50 and above mean more women than ever are experiencing the menopause in the workplace. In the UK, up to 47% of the workforce will experience their menopause transition during their working lives, according to a government research report named “Menopause transition: effects on women’s economic participation”.
The menopause transition is different for everyone – one size does not fit all – and a wide range of physical and psychological transition symptoms are associated with it. They include hot flushes and night sweats, changes in menstrual flow and regularity and depression.
Some aspects of work can make symptoms worse such as hot or poorly ventilated environments, formal meetings and deadlines. Women in transition may also feel that those around them at work are unsympathetic or treat them badly and interpret their behaviour as gendered ageism.
This may help explain why many women don’t speak up about menopause-related difficulties at work, especially to men and/or younger colleagues. But some have pressed ahead.
BBC Breakfast host Louise Minchin, for example, opened up about her battle with menopause symptoms in a bid to change the stigma around it, describing the difficulty to cope with hot flushes when sitting on a sofa in front of 6.5 million people.
There are a few treatments for menopause:
- Healthy lifestyle, weight loss, exercise can help
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Non-hormonal treatment
It is still rare for companies to offer help to menopausal women and making it part of an everyday conversation. Possible corporate tools to address the issue include open-to-all educational sessions as well as closed groups that offer more privacy, the introduction of a menopause champion, highlighting internet resources via the human resources (HR) department and offering employee benefits around menopause and support.
Recommendations for managers
- Have a listening ear and know the impact of menopause on health and wellbeing.
- Encourage a workplace culture of understanding, not continual joking, and model respect.
- If a problem is expressed, ask if they have an idea for a solution, then discuss and consider it and action if possible.
- Be aware of the pathway of support at work; know where available resources are and how to access information/support.
Lockton and digital employee healthcare benefit provider, Peppy, have recently held a webinar on the subject. You can listen to the recording of “Making Menopause Mainstream” by following this link.
For further information, please contact:
Chris Rofe, Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits
T: +44 (0)207 933 2876
Peppy is a first-of-its-kind digital healthcare benefit that connects employees to specialist menopause practitioners via a secure mobile app. Organisations that already support their people with Peppy include Aviva, BNP Paribas and Wickes.
To learn more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author
Kathy Abernethy is Director of Menopause Services at Peppy and the immediate past Chair of the British Menopause Society (BMS). She has over thirty years’ clinical experience as a menopause practitioner.
Kathy leads an award-winning NHS London menopause service and has a private menopause clinic in London. She is also the widely published author of the book, ‘Menopause: The One-Stop Guide’.
Through her work, Kathy raises awareness of the impact of menopause and connects people to personalised, expert-led menopause support.