As an HR professional or employer, you’re always on the lookout for ways to support and retain your employees. With women of menopausal age now making up the fastest-growing demographic of the UK workforce, there is increasing recognition of the impact menopause has on women’s wellbeing. Creating a supportive work environment for midlife women requires senior leadership to go beyond traditional workplace policies.
The Impact of Menopause in the Workplace
Menopause is a natural, physical process that people who were assigned female at birth or have female biological and physiological anatomy, experience as part of ageing. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 (however it can begin earlier than this and symptoms can begin during perimenopause).
Due to the diminishing production of hormones in women’s bodies during menopause, they can experience several physical, psychological, and emotional changes. Women’s wellbeing and work performance can be adversely affected by these changes as a result of the symptoms they experience. These symptoms can include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and memory loss.
As a consequence, women often experience increased anxiety and stress, which can negatively affect their productivity at work, causing frustration, decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism, and even job loss in some cases.
There can often be a lack of knowledge and understanding around menopause in the workplace that further contributes to a feeling that midlife female coworkers cannot discuss their menopause-related symptoms at work.
Benefits of Supporting Menopause in the Workplace
Providing a supportive environment to employees going through menopause can be beneficial to the workplace in so many ways. A few key benefits include:
- Reduction in gender pay gap: According to the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap between women and men is at its widest for those over 50 due to a lack of advancement or retention in senior positions. By keeping more women in the workforce through menopause, there is often a direct decrease in the pay gap employers and employees face.
- Improved employee retention: Supporting midlife female colleagues in the workplace leads to improved employee retention because they are more likely to stay in their positions and not seek to reduce their hours or leave employment completely
- Positive impact on employee wellbeing: Giving midlife female colleagues support during menopause can have a hugely positive impact on their wellbeing, resulting in improved performance and productivity.
- Enhanced employee engagement: By taking the time to understand and support midlife female colleagues, employers can increase employee motivation, loyalty and engagement.
- Increased diversity and inclusion: 95% of employers rated menopause support in the workplace as effective or highly effective for enhancing diversity, equality and inclusion.
What Employers Should Be Doing to Support Menopause in the Workplace
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of supporting menopause in the workplace, let’s talk about what employers should be doing to create a supportive work environment for people going through menopause.
Here are a few essential steps you can take:
- Conduct a menopause survey: With the help of a menopause survey, you can gain an in-depth understanding of the symptoms and challenges that midlife women face. It will enable you to identify any support gaps and take appropriate action to address them.
- Create a menopause policy: Implement a policy that describes the steps that will be taken to support women going through menopause, including flexible work arrangements, menopause leave, training for line managers, and access to additional resources.
- Access to health and wellness services: Employers should seek to provide employees with access to expert health and wellness services, like Peppy. Peppy provides access to expert-created resources, mental health support, one-to-one consultations, nutrition and exercise programs and more.
- Make adjustments to the workplace: Flexible working arrangements, access to quiet spaces, and increased temperature control are a few of the ways employers can accommodate the physical and emotional changes midlife female colleagues face.
- Train line managers: Line managers should receive training on managing and supporting midlife female colleagues effectively. This will allow them to better understand the symptoms and challenges midlife female colleagues face and provide the necessary support when needed.
So what is the “Menopause Support Checklist”?
When creating a supportive environment for your midlife female coworkers, HR leaders and employers can utilise the Menopause Support Checklist as a clear and comprehensive guide to providing support.
The Menopause Support Checklist will help ensure that you have all the necessary tools and resources to provide the most practical support to your employees. Discover how to tackle the menopause taboo, create a menopause-friendly workplace environment, develop a culture of support and provide effective, personalised care to those who might be struggling on a daily basis.
Our clinical menopause specialists at Peppy have created this support checklist for you to work through:
- Conduct a menopause survey to gather feedback from employees and managers
- Understand the impact of menopause on DE&I and employee retention
- Implement flexible work arrangements and provide access to resources and support
- Develop a menopause policy
- Provide training for line managers
- Attend HR-focused events or seminars on menopause
- Use the buyer’s guide to identify the available menopause support products and services
- See what other employers are doing to take action and how you can do the same