Menopause marks the end of menstruation and typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopausal women experience a drop-in estrogen levels, leading to symptoms like:
- hot flashes
- weight gain
- sleep issues
- mood changes, etc.
These symptoms affect not just the personal lives, but also the professional lives of those who experience menopause during their careers. The Faculty of Occupational Medicine reveals that nearly 8 out of 10 menopausal women in the UK are employed. However, not all employers provide the needed menopausal support for these women.
For companies aiming to retain their skilled and experienced female workforce, it’s essential to cultivate a supporting environment for menopausal women.
Impact of Menopause Side Effects on Women at Work
Women experiencing menopause encounter unique challenges in the workplace while managing the physical, emotional and hormonal shifts associated with this natural transition.
Physical Symptoms and Discomfort
Women undergoing menopause frequently experience various physical symptoms and discomfort that can impact their everyday routines and workplace productivity.
One common symptom of menopause that most menopausal women experience is hot flashes along with night sweats.
Exhaustion and sleeping issues are also common during menopause, making it difficult for women to maintain energy levels during work hours.
Emotional and Mental Changes
Women going through menopause also go through emotional and mental shifts. These changes significantly affect how they feel at work.
Changes in mood and irritability are very common during this time. These symptoms affect how they get along with coworkers and how much they enjoy their jobs.
They might also have changes in how they think and remember things, often called “brain fog.” This can make it hard to focus and remember important tasks.
Ways Companies Can Provide Support to Menopausal Women at Work
The following are some ways in which employers can support menopausal women working at their companies:
Encourage Open Conversations
Companies should create a friendly and welcoming environment where women can freely discuss their menopause experiences. Employers should teach employees how to discuss this topic in a kind, discrete and caring way.
It’s important to normalise talking about menopause so that women are not afraid to ask for temporary and reasonable adjustments. This doesn’t mean workers have to talk about things they don’t want to, but they should know who to ask for help if needed.
Provide Education and Resources
Companies can help women during menopause by offering educational resources and information about menopause. Companies can arrange workshops, conduct menopause training, offer resources such as brochures or articles and collaborate with healthcare providers to provide expert guidance.
Offer Flexible Work Options
Trouble with sleeping is a common sign of menopause. The option of flexible work hours lets women work when they feel they can do their best. When women work from home, they can also adjust the room temperature and how they dress, which can make them feel better by easing the uncomfortable symptoms.
Train Managers on Menopause
Companies should invest in menopause awareness training programs to help managers support women. Managers will then be able to recognise menopausal signs, understand how it can affect women and be able to help menopausal women in the workplace.
Managers should also be well-versed in the company’s well-being policies and ensure all employees understand them too. Together people can then do what’s needed to keep women motivated and well in the workplace.
Benefits of Supporting Menopausal Women for Companies
Supporting menopausal women benefits both employees and companies.
Here are some ways in which companies can benefit from supporting menopausal women:
Employee Retention and Satisfaction
When companies acknowledge and address the challenges faced by menopausal women, it demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being. This can foster a sense of loyalty and increase employee satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates. Menopausal women who feel supported are likelier to remain engaged and motivated at work.
Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood changes can sometimes lead to increased absenteeism.
By providing flexible work arrangements, remote work or adjusting schedules, companies can help menopausal women manage their symptoms effectively and reduce the need for extended time off.
When menopausal women receive support tailored to their needs, they are better equipped to manage symptoms that could otherwise hinder their performance.
Reduced physical discomfort and improved emotional well-being can lead to increased focus and productivity, benefiting both the employee and the company.
Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
Fostering a workplace that is sensitive to the needs of menopausal women contributes to a more diverse and inclusive environment. By accommodating various life stages and experiences, companies can attract a wide range of talent and perspectives, leading to incredible innovation and creativity.
Positive Company Image
Companies prioritising employee well-being, especially for an often overlooked demographic, can build a positive reputation within their industry and among consumers. Customers increasingly value companies that genuinely commit to social responsibility and inclusivity.
Healthcare Cost Savings
Supporting menopausal women can result in decreased healthcare costs for companies. When women have access to resources that help them manage their symptoms and maintain their health, they are less likely to require medical interventions or treatments that could impact a company’s healthcare expenditures.
Employee Engagement and Morale
An inclusive workplace supporting menopausal women can boost overall employee morale and engagement. When employees witness the company taking proactive steps to support their colleagues, it creates a sense of community and unity among the workforce.
Skill and Knowledge Retention
Menopausal women often represent a significant portion of experienced and knowledgeable employees within a company. By offering support, companies can retain the expertise of these employees and prevent a loss of valuable institutional knowledge due to early retirement or attrition.
Creating a supportive environment for menopausal women is crucial for employee well-being and company success. Menopause brings unique challenges, from physical discomfort to emotional changes, which can impact productivity and morale. By fostering open conversations, providing education, offering flexible work options, and training managers, companies can ensure a positive experience for menopausal women. Supporting menopausal women is ethically essential and strategically advantageous for creating a thriving and inclusive work culture.