Half of the population experiences menopause, yet many employers are unaware of which members of staff have symptoms and how menopause impacts productivity and performance. Here, we look at menopause symptoms, the latest facts and figures, and how to cope with menopause at work, explaining the help available to educate your workforce, promote open dialogue and achieve greater understanding within your organisation.
What are common symptoms of the menopause?
Menopause can have as many as 34 physical and psychological symptoms, all of which have the potential to impact work ability and performance. The most common physical symptoms include hot flushes, sleep disorders, night sweats, palpitations, increased blood pressure, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, joint stiffness and pain, headaches, reduced muscle mass, urinary tract infections and decreased sex drive. Common psychological symptoms include tiredness, mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, irritability, loss of confidence, reduced ability to learn and poor memory.
Menopause is a natural physiological process that demarks the end of the female reproductive function and tends to occur between the ages of 44 – 55. It’s preceded by perimenopause, lasting between 2 – 10 years. Worldwide, menopause statistics estimate 657 million women aged 45-59, with around half working during their menopausal years. This can be a time when women reach their career peak, but with menopause an under-recognised health condition in the workplace, it can affect productivity and performance, resulting in sickness absenteeism.
MWhat effect can the menopause have on employees in the workplace?
Menopause at work is a bi-directional experience, with symptoms impacting the work experience, which, in turn, impacts symptoms. Women describe feeling weak, incompetent, unstable and depressed, with a lack of understanding and support in helping them to cope with symptoms. Many need to use annual leave to cope with their symptoms and are not confident in disclosing their situation to managers for fear of stigmatisation and discrimination. 52% of women consider leaving employment because of the symptoms they experience.
Those who experience a supportive work culture, with flexible working hours and hybrid working models, report feeling better able to express their concerns, with supervisor support and management who are aware of women’s issues through a health-wise culture.
Training for HR managers
Our Occupational Health specialist ‘Menopause in the Workplace’ team has the experience and expertise to advise, train and educate your managers and staff about menopausal-related issues, helping to promote open discussion and a culture of inclusivity and diversity.
Menopause in the workplace training covers many areas, including government policy on menopause, menopause discrimination UK, menopause leave policy, how to cope with menopause at work, menopause-free resources, menopause health and safety and menopause working from home.
Commit to a Menopause at Work Policy
By committing to a ‘menopause at work’ pledge and adopting a ‘menopause at work’ policy that can include flexible hours, hybrid working, job sharing, paced working and task scheduling, rest spaces and regular supportive contact with managers, the whole ‘menopause at work’ culture can be improved to provide greater understanding and support, resulting in increased productivity and reduced sickness absenteeism.
Learn more about the Menopause In The Workplace support services we can offer businesses like yours.
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