Over recent years there has been increasing awareness of the impact of perimenopause and menopause on women or other people who have a menstrual cycle, this includes an increasing awareness of how it impacts women both at home and in the workplace. 8 out of 10 women of menopausal age are in work. This is an increase on previous generations.
The menopause is a natural stage of life which affects most women and other people who have a menstrual cycle. This can include:
- Trans people – ‘trans’ is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth
- People with ‘variations of sex development’ (VSD) – some people might also prefer to identify as intersex or use the term ‘differences in sex development (DSD)
It’s important for employers to be aware of all of the people who might go through the menopause and menopause symptoms and to support them all equally.
For the majority of women, the menopause will occur naturally between the ages of 45 and 55 with the average age being 51 when there has been 1 year without periods. However, approximately 1 in 100 women will experience the menopause before the age of 40 and some women will have a medically induced menopause.
Common perimenopause and menopause symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes and sleep disturbances. In total, there are over 30 recognised physical and psychological symptoms. Menopause symptoms usually last between 4 and 8 years. Though for some women symptoms will continue post menopause.
A survey by the British Menopause Society reports that for 45% of women menopause symptoms have negatively impacted on their work, and 47% who have had to take a day off work due to symptoms would not tell their employer the real reason for their absence. This could be for a number of factors including the age and gender of managers, a perceived lack of understanding from managers and embarrassment about the menopause from women affected.
There are several measures that workplaces can implement to create a menopause-friendly workspace.
Implement a menopause policy
With more and more women remaining in the workforce during menopause and beyond, it is important that organisations to implement a menopause policy. It will assist both managers and colleagues to know what support can be offered by their employer. It will also assist with the retention of staff.
Increase awareness and understanding of the menopause
Increase the awareness and understanding of the menopause for both managers and employees through training, talks and sharing of experiences. It will assist in building an open and supportive work environment for all.
Training for line managers
Having specific training for line managers will increase their confidence in being able to have a conversation about the menopause even if they are male and/ or younger than their colleagues. They will be more confident in using the processes available to them within their organisation to support their staff.
Menopause support group
Set up virtual or in-person support groups for women and other people who are going through the menopause so that they have a space to talk about how the menopause is impacting on them. It can be beneficial to have support groups where colleagues who are partners of someone experiencing the menopause have a space to talk about how it is impacting on them. This will assist all to be more open about their experiences and to create a more inclusive working environment.
Access to additional services
Having access to additional services to support women who are significantly impacted by the menopause will help to reduce absence and increase retention. Additional services such as PAM Wellbeing’s menopause assessment and 12 sessions of counselling can help to manage and support the psychological and emotional impact of the menopause and improve quality of life during this life transition.
How can PAM Wellbeing Help?
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Access to a 24/7 confidential helpline answered by qualified counsellors for in the moment emotional support. As well as wellbeing resources to support a variety of personal and professional issues.
Menopause Support Service: Designed to psychologically and emotionally support women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopausal symptoms. The service helps individuals to develop coping strategies, prevent further mental health conditions and overall, boosts wellbeing through creating an inclusive culture of awareness and support.
Mental Health Webinars: Increase awareness of the perimenopause and menopause in the workplace by booking our workshops and training on the psychological and emotional Impact of the Menopause.
Discover how PAM Wellbeing’s specialised menopause support service can empower your business.