Menopause at work

At almost 48 years of age and in good health, I could soon be facing the most challenging natural health issue of my life… The menopause

I know I’m not there yet – I have no symptoms. Perhaps I’ll be one of the lucky ones that sails through, no bother. But it’s three times more likely that I will be affected.

Menopause is still not spoken about freely, despite its potentially serious impact on a woman’s everyday life. It normally occurs between ages 45 to 55 and typically last between 4 and 8 years.

There are 34 recognised symptoms (not just the stereotypical ‘hot flush’).  These include lack of concentration, poor sleep, memory loss, fatigue and low mood.

Any one symptom alone will affect daily life but having a combination of many symptoms can be debilitating.

Studies have shown that menopause symptoms can have a significant impact on attendance and performance at work. This impact can be wrongly identified as a performance issue.

40% of women experiencing menopausal symptoms have expressed a desire to leave their job. An alarming statistic with far-reaching implications.

A high proportion of businesses, if not most, will have an employee affected by menopause at some point. How many companies are owned or run by someone whose only knowledge of menopause is that it’s “the change” !! ?

Through organisational training and raising awareness the stigma of menopause can be broken down.

The best way to address this is via a Menopause Policy.

The policy should include reasonable adjustments in the workplace such as flexible working, more frequent breaks, flexibility with dress code, availability of chilled water. There should also be guidance in place for line managers.

There is a way to go in breaking the taboo surrounding menopause, but a workplace policy is a positive step in the right direction.

 

If you require further information or policy guidance, please get in touch

 

Carla Brown March 2020

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