Menopause is a natural phase of life that all women experience and yet we still find it a hushed subject with many women not feeling able to talk openly about their symptoms.

While this transitional period affects women physically and emotionally, its impact on both their personal and professional lives is often underestimated, particularly within the workplace.

As we strive for more inclusive and equitable workplaces, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the challenges women face during menopause.

In this blog post, we will explore the impact of menopause on women in the workplace and discuss strategies to support and empower them during this significant life transition.

The Menopausal Journey

Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 to 55, with the average age being 51. However, the experience can vary significantly from woman to woman. Some women sails through with little or no impact but for others this disruptive period can  be over a decade of ill health, anxiety, brain fog, weight gain. In some cases women leave the workplace as they can't cope.

34% of women felt unable to talk about their menopause symptoms to their employer *

A study by BUPA* showed almost a million women have left their job because of menopausal symptoms.

As women spend a significant portion of their lives in the workforce, it is no surprise that menopause affects their professional lives in various ways. Despite this, conversations around menopause in the workplace have historically been shrouded in silence and stigma. To create a more supportive environment, employers and colleagues must foster open dialogues about menopause and its impact.

menopause in the workplace

Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

During menopause, some women may experience severe physical discomfort, leading to an increased number of sick days and decreased productivity. Hot flashes and night sweats can be particularly distressing, impacting sleep quality and leaving women feeling fatigued and irritable.

Emotionally, hormonal fluctuations can contribute to anxiety, mood swings, and feelings of vulnerability. The emotional toll may affect confidence and decision-making abilities, leading some women to feel hesitant to take on new challenges or advance in their careers.

Work Performance and Concentration

"Brain fog" and memory lapses are common complaints during menopause. This can affect work performance, especially in tasks that require intense focus and mental clarity. As women may struggle to remember important details or concentrate on complex projects, they might fear that their competency is diminishing, impacting their self-esteem and overall work satisfaction.

Workplace Culture and Stigma

Culture within a business is key to opening up a healthy dialogue and providing the environment where menopause is discussed openly and with compassion. The lack of open discussions and awareness surrounding menopause in the workplace contributes to a culture of misunderstanding and stigma. Women may feel reluctant to share their experiences, fearing that they will be perceived as weak or less capable.

corporate strategies for menopause

Supportive Strategies A Business Can Adopt

Training and Education: This is NO.1 and should ideally include the entire workforce. Men and women both need a deeper understanding of how the menopause can affect women. This will help the male team members to support and communicate effectively too. Lunchtime educational sessions on menopause in a relaxed and open environment are a fantastic way to educate and empower your team . By educating the entire workforce, we can cultivate empathy and understanding, leading to a more inclusive and compassionate work environment.

Open Communication: Employers and colleagues should foster a culture of empathy and open communication, encouraging women to share their menopausal experiences without judgment or shame. Providing a safe space for discussions will help women feel valued and supported during this transitional phase. Many businesses now have a small menopause committee which allow business to fully understand what impact this is having on the business, the team and culture.

Flexible Working Arrangements: Offering flexible working hours and remote work options can provide women with the autonomy to manage their workloads and prioritize self-care when needed. Working form home can be a blessing and a curse some enjoy the isolation others become distant and have increased feeling of isolation. A system that monitors how people feel about working from home can be hugely beneficial to allow team leaders to support their menopausal women.

Health and Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as stress management workshops, mindfulness programs, and fitness classes, can support women in managing their physical and emotional well-being during menopause.

Menopause-Friendly Policies: Introducing menopause-friendly policies that address issues like temperature control in the workplace, access to cooling fans, and private spaces for managing symptoms can create a more accommodating work environment.

dealing with menopause at work

Menopause is an important phase in a woman's life, and its impact on the workplace should not be overlooked. By breaking the silence surrounding menopause and implementing supportive strategies, we can create a workplace that empowers women during this transition.

As we strive for gender equality, acknowledging and addressing menopause's challenges will help us build more inclusive, understanding, and supportive work environments for women in the workplace.


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