A menopause-friendly workplace is created by empowering women through supportive policies and inclusive companies.
Therefore, as women continue to make remarkable strides in the professional world, addressing their unique experiences and challenges is crucial.
One of these significant life stages is menopause, a natural phase that marks the end of reproductive years.
However, menopause brings a range of physical and emotional changes that can impact a woman's overall well-being and ability to perform optimally in the workplace.
Recognizing and accommodating these challenges is essential for fostering a truly inclusive and supportive work environment.
Understanding the Impact of Menopause on Working Women
Menopause is a complex biological process typically occurring in a woman's late 40s to early 50s.
It involves the cessation of menstruation and decreased hormone production, leading to various physical and psychological symptoms.
These symptoms can include:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- difficulty concentrating
All of which can directly affect a woman's performance and productivity at work.
In fact, recent studies on "menopause and the workplace" have shed light on the need for organizations to acknowledge the impact of this phase and take proactive measures.
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published findings by D'Angelo et al. in 2022, on the impact of menopausal symptoms on women in the health and employment after 50 study (HEAF study).
The study concluded that 30% of women in the workforce experiencing symptomatic menopause presents challenges in managing work-related tasks.
Whereas, those who grapple with depression and face financial constraints are particularly more susceptible to these difficulties.
Workplace Menopause Policies: A Step Towards Inclusivity
To address the challenges posed by menopause, forward-thinking companies are adopting workplace menopause policies.
Therefore, these policies are designed to provide support and accommodations for women navigating this significant life transition.
By acknowledging and accommodating the needs of menopausal employees, organizations can foster a culture of inclusivity and retain valuable talent.
As a matter of fact, several companies across various industries are stepping forward to offer menopause benefits as part of their commitment to employee well-being and gender inclusivity.
While the landscape is continually evolving, some notable examples of companies that have introduced menopause benefits include the following:
companies going beyond policies
While workplace menopause policies are a critical step, some companies are taking it a step further by becoming truly menopause-friendly organizations.
These companies go beyond policies and integrate menopause support into their organizational culture.
Unilever (UK + Ireland)
This global consumer goods company has implemented a menopause support program that includes informational resources, workshops, and flexible work arrangements to assist their employees during this life phase better.
Unilever believes that creating a culture of awareness, openness and support about the menopause is key in order to support its workforce and wants everyone to feel confident and comfortable enough to have conversations about menopause and be able to access the right support at the right time. ~ Unilever
The insurance company Aviva launched a policy allowing employees experiencing menopause symptoms to access flexible working hours, providing them with the flexibility they need to manage their health and work responsibilities effectively.
If the person’s symptoms are due to menopause they’d still benefit from our added value and support services such as Aviva Digital GP and our menopause information guides. ~ Aviva
The financial services organization Barclays has introduced a range of wellness initiatives that cater specifically to menopausal employees.
These initiatives encompass education, workshops, and awareness campaigns to create a more supportive workplace culture.
"We want to retain and attract amazing, intelligent colleagues – who just happen to be going through menopause and we want them to know that at Barclays, they’ll be supported. It’s a really important way to help deliver our diversity and inclusion agenda. ~ May Mackay, Program Director in Risk Finance Technology and Co-Lead of the Women’s Health Working Group at Barclays
As a pharmaceutical company, Pfizer understands the importance of health and well-being.
They have been recognized for their comprehensive approach to employee health, including addressing menopause-related challenges through tailored benefits and support.
The advertising and marketing agency Ogilvy has taken strides to support women during menopause by offering resources and information to help employees manage their symptoms and navigate this phase of life.
EY (Ernst & Young)
EY has shown its commitment to inclusivity by offering various well-being programs that include menopause support.
These programs aim to provide education, awareness, and tailored resources for women in their workforce.
"EY is one of the few employers in the UK with an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate service. The firm also signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge and sponsored the world’s only Menopause festival this year called Flushfest." ~ EY
Implementing Flexible work arrangements
Flexible work arrangements can make a substantial difference in helping women manage their menopausal symptoms.
This could include options such as:
- remote work
- flexible hours
- compressed workweeks
By allowing women to tailor their work schedules to their fluctuating energy levels and symptom severity, companies demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being.
Education and awareness Initiatives
Menopause-friendly companies understand the power of education.
Therefore, they offer resources and workshops to educate employees and managers about menopause, its impact, and how to provide effective support.
This not only creates empathy but also equips everyone with the tools to navigate this phase collaboratively.
Health and wellness programs
Incorporating health and wellness programs tailored to menopausal women can significantly contribute to their overall well-being.
These programs may include yoga classes, meditation sessions, and access to nutritionists who specialize in menopause-related dietary needs.
Creating a menopause-friendly workplace is not just about policies; it's about fostering a culture of empathy, understanding, and support.
As women continue to play pivotal roles in various industries, it's crucial for organizations to recognize and address the unique challenges they face during menopause.
Whereas, in an effort to evade ageism, numerous working women refrain from highlighting their symptom experience as highlighted in a piece recently written about by CNN business.
Therefore, implementing workplace menopause policies and striving to become menopause-friendly companies, organizations can empower women to thrive professionally and personally, contributing to a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
In the pursuit of a more equitable work environment, embracing menopause as a part of women's journeys is a monumental step forward.
Recent publications and studies underscore the importance of this endeavor, highlighting how a menopause-friendly workplace benefits not only women but also the organizations they are a part of.
Let us move together towards a future where women are supported at every stage of their careers, including this transformative phase of menopause.
Creating a Menopause-Friendly Workplace
by DR. BIANCA BELDINI
August 25, 2023
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