Menopause is hard to deal with. Dealing with the Menopause at work adds a whole new layer of stress! Whether its physical symptoms and emotional changes, many women are trying to deal with the Menopause without letting anyone know what’s going on. It’s one of the last taboos left – women still don’t feel able to talk about the menopause!
Research from the CIPD last week shows that 3 out of 5 women between the ages of 45 and 55 with menopause symptoms say that it has a negative impact on them at work. 65% said they are less able to concentrate and 58% said they experience more stress. 52% even felt they have less patience with colleagues and clients! All of this means that the workplace is much more difficult for them than men or younger woman not going through the Menopause.
Women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing group in the workforce and the average age for the menopause is 51. Employers aren’t catering to their needs, so its time that the taboo is broken!
Support for the Menopause in the Workplace
30% of women say they have taken sick leave because of the symptoms, and 34% did not disclose the real reason due to embarrassment. A further 32% didn’t do so because they had an unsupportive manager.
It’s likely that senior staff don’t know the best way to support them. In fact, more women said that they feel supported by their colleagues (48%) than their manager (32%) when it came to the menopause.
Having open conversations and creating a culture where everyone can talk openly about health issues is the best way that an employer can create a better atmosphere at work. However male managers should avoid ‘mansplaining’ what it’s like to go through the menopause and make sure to listen and learn from their women in their team! It’s important that it is treated like any other health condition so that women are able to be more open. Creating an environment where employees feel like they can ask for the support they need is better for everyone.
The CIPD did suggest some changes that employers can make and encouraged them to work with HR teams to understand what other adjustments can be made. Some suggestions are:
- Give women a later start time if their sleep pattern is disturbed
- Providing a desk fan to help with hot flushes
- Making sure women can take regular comfort breaks and allowing them to adapt their uniform to improve comfort levels.
Women are valuable to the workforce and making them feel as comfortable is important for our equality! Make sure your employers are paying attention to the latest research and adapting to the modern world.