The Hidden Link: Menopause, Stress and the Modern Workplace

May 10, 2023

Employers, it’s time to step up and support your female colleagues. For too long now, women have been suffering in silence and although the conversation is starting to change, it’s your duty as an employer to learn about menopause, the impact it’s having on your female colleagues and what support you need to put in place.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. We’re here to give you an in-depth understanding of menopause and its impact on the workplace and provide you with the knowledge you need to navigate this complex issue. Learn about the relationship between menopause and workplace stress, and how you can create a supportive environment for women experiencing menopause. 

Let’s dive right in. Did you know that:

Women going through menopause can experience an array of symptoms – both physical and mental. Women are faced with these struggles not only at home, but also at work too. These symptoms are impacting your colleagues on a daily basis; without the right support, they will be left feeling distressed and alone.

Menopause and Stress: A Complex Relationship in the Workplace

The intricate relationship between menopause and workplace stress can be better understood by exploring its four key aspects: physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, decreased job satisfaction and stigma and misunderstanding. By examining these factors, we can develop tailored strategies to support employees experiencing menopause.

  1. Physical symptoms: Perimenopause and menopause can bring on a myriad of physical symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats and sleep disturbances. These can lead to fatigue, decreased concentration and embarrassment, which in turn can reduce productivity and amplify stress levels. The resulting stress can impact a woman’s effectiveness at work potentially leading to a reduced work-life balance.
  2. Emotional symptoms: Menopause often triggers emotional symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and depression, fueled by hormonal fluctuations. These emotions contribute to workplace stress, making it challenging for women to manage their feelings and maintain healthy relationships with colleagues. The emotional toll of menopause can also exacerbate existing mental health issues or create new ones, further intensifying workplace stress.
  3. Decreased job satisfaction: The combination of physical and emotional challenges can lead to decreased job satisfaction among women experiencing menopause. This dissatisfaction can manifest as increased stress levels, burnout, and even attrition, resulting in a negative impact on both the individual and the organisation. This is shown in the fact that 1 in 10 women have left work because of symptoms of menopause.
  4. Stigma and misunderstanding: Menopause remains a taboo subject in many workplaces, creating a culture of silence and misunderstanding. This stigma intensifies stress and feelings of isolation, making it difficult for women to seek support from colleagues and supervisors. A lack of awareness and understanding among colleagues can lead to misconceptions about menopause and contribute to a hostile or unsupportive work environment.

Menopause symptoms are a natural part of a woman’s life. But, if we’re going to break down the taboo of menopause, employers need to take a leading role.

The fact is that menopause remains to be an unsupported area of healthcare; for your female colleagues to be able to access the specialised healthcare they need to thrive at work, they need the right employee benefits in place. This won’t just help them, but will also help you as an employer; because employees who are healthier and not suffering from stress will be more productive, more engaged and more loyal to your business, in turn helping you reach your wider business goals and DEI objectives.

Here’s how you can address menopause in your workplace in order to foster a more inclusive and supportive work environment for all.

  • Assign menopause champions: Create a network of menopause champions within your organisation who can provide peer support, mentorship, and advice for employees experiencing menopause. Having champions in place will encourage a more open culture where employees can seek help for menopause before it becomes a crisis.
  • Create a menopause resource hub: Develop a centralised online resource hub for employees that includes informative articles, videos, podcasts and webinars on menopause, as well as contact information for local support groups and healthcare providers.
  • Introduce Peppy as a global healthcare benefit: Take action to support all employees experiencing menopause by offering Peppy, a cutting-edge healthcare benefit. Peppy connects employees with experts for one-to-one specialist support, providing personalised guidance and resources for managing menopause symptoms and overall wellbeing.
  • Organise Menopause Lunch & Learns: Host engaging events – online or in-person and open to all. Invite guest speakers, including senior women from your company, healthcare professionals and menopause experts, to educate employees about menopause and provide a platform where managers and colleagues can have their questions answered.
  • Promote a healthy work-life balance: Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by giving them access to nutrition and fitness support, as well as discouraging excessive overtime. Offer flexible scheduling or remote work options to help employees better manage their menopause symptoms and personal responsibilities.

By addressing menopause-related stress head-on, you will not only improve workplace well-being for female employees but also contribute to a more productive and engaged workforce. Ultimately, acknowledging and managing the correlation between menopause and stress in the workplace is a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment for all employees. So what’re you waiting for?!