CEO, Henpicked: Menopause In The Workplace
Menopause in the workplace is as much an employment issue as it is a health issue.
Debilitating, common symptoms — including hot flushes, headaches, irregular or heavy periods, anxiety, low mood, ‘brain fog’ and loss of confidence — are compounded by the stress and worry of experiencing them at work. Understanding, empathy and flexibility go a long way to help people work around their menopause symptoms — both in and outside the workplace setting.
Importance of menopause in the workplace
Awareness of menopause in the workplace is higher than ever, and the recent publication of the ‘Menopause and the workplace: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2022–2023’ brought it back into the spotlight.
Understanding, empathy and flexibility go a long way to help people work around their menopause symptoms – both in and outside the workplace setting.
While the Government didn’t accept all the recommendations, it did approve appointing a Menopause Employment Champion, reducing the cost of HRT, education within schools, running a public health awareness campaign, allowing flexible work hours and implementing bespoke workplace policies.
Simple strategies for menopause in the workplace
Workplace training for employers and colleagues raises awareness and builds a culture of empathy and understanding which, in turn, brings relief to those affected by menopause in the workplace.
Making small and reasonable workplace adjustments can also help, such as positioning desks away from heat sources, having breaks in meetings, providing cool fresh water, supplying desk fans, allowing flexible work hours and setting aside a quiet breakout room. Neither onerous nor costly, these small changes make a big difference.
Bespoke policies for menopause support
We advise the first step for responsible employers is to ask employees: ‘What’s getting in the way of you being at your best, and what would help you?’ Hosting a menopause training session is also a great way to get the conversation started across an organisation.
Areas of concern arise from these sessions and help to shape a bespoke menopause policy that suits the workplace and its workforce and identifies any specific aspects that need to be addressed.
Open discussions around menopause
In 2016, when we first started working with employers, we couldn’t find any menopause workplace policy. Fast-forward to today, we have an environment where women’s health at work during this key time of their life and career is more appreciated and recognised.
Feeling psychologically safe, supported and understood provides relief and can improve the experience of working through menopause. By keeping the conversation going and the changes coming, we will continue to improve women’s health — and happiness — at work.