With women accounting for nearly half of the UK workforce, it is questionable as to why the conversation of menopause in the workplace has only just arisen.
Who are Wellbeing of Women?
Here at Cibes Lift UK, we take our corporate social responsibility seriously. Most recently we have signed the ‘Menopause Workplace Pledge’. A pledge developed by the ‘Wellbeing of Women’. A charity committed to supporting women through menopause, amongst other women’s health conditions.
According to recent research from the Wellbeing of Women, approximately 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs because of the menopause. This is due to the debilitating symptoms that the menopause can cause, which are often heightened within the workplace.
The Menopause Workplace Pledge calls upon employers to take positive action toward their staff going through the menopause. Through committing to three key fundamentals:
- Recognising that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace and that women need support
- Talking openly, positively, and respectfully about the menopause
- Actively supporting and informing your employees affected by the menopause
What are its effects?
Managing the effects of menopause and removing the stigma surrounding it are key considerations in creating a more inclusive working environment. Those encountering symptoms often find the experience tiring and stressful.
Receiving workplace support is crucial in supporting women through symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Poor memory
- Hot flushes
Often women experience menopause differently from one another, but for some women, the effects of the menopause can create life-altering changes both mentally and physically.
Who does it affect?
First and foremost, employers need to understand the symptoms and recognise the signs. As education is key to creating helpful change. The menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, however, it is not a one-size-fits-all and can occur earlier or later in a person’s life.
For most, symptoms last around 4 years, however, this is unconditional and may vary from person to person. In some cases, a person may experience early menopause or undergo medical menopause if medically necessary.
What can be done?
Going through the menopause can be a sensitive time in a woman’s life and as such should be treated that way.
Recognising that its symptoms can affect staff at any time can aid staff in carrying out their workplace responsibilities confidently and efficiently.
This can be achieved through supporting women in the workplace to prevent them from concerns such as;
- Losing confidence in their ability
- Taking unusual absences
- Poor mental health
- Leaving their job
Whilst any health condition can be justifiably personal, the menopause can visibly present its symptoms, making it harder to conceal.
Facilitating open conversations and creating a safe space within the workplace is a great place to start the discussion.
Finding out exactly how you as an employer can help will not only demonstrate your proactiveness as an organisation, but also highlight your willingness to support your staff.
Employers should consider conducting regular risk assessments, to identify any negatively impacting health and safety issues.
A menopause risk assessment could include considerations such as:
- Ventilation and temperature of the workplace
- Amendments to the company uniform policy if uniform causes discomfort
- Whether there is suitable space for staff respite i.e. a quiet room
- Whether w/c facilities are accessible
- Whether there is access to cold drinking water
Employers should continually review the risk assessment to ensure they are fully compliant with both the law and the Workplace Menopause Pledge. Cibes Lift UK encourages other employers to follow alongside us and take up the pledge!
For more information on what you can do to support the pledge, or for general help please click here.