Oct 18, 2022
Oct 25, 2022

World Menopause Day

Women over the age of 50 represent an increasingly large share of the demographic in the workplace. It therefore comes as no great surprise that recent research has shown that between 75% and 80% of menopausal women are in work. 14 million working days each year in the UK are lost due to menopause, which is driving down productivity. As our workforce ages, this is set to increase.

Despite increased media coverage over the past year, research shows that the majority of women are unwilling to discuss menopause-related health problems with their line manager, nor ask for the support or adjustments that they may need.

It is currently estimated that less than 10% of companies across the UK are educating their workforce about the symptoms and impact that menopause may bring. Of the firms that do offer support: 5% offer free advice, 3% have policies in place, 3% of line managers are given relevant training.

How does your business stack up in the scheme of things?

Do you want to be a positive statistic and an employer of choice?

Support needs to reach all employees positively and proactively - not just those directly facing the menopause, but also to the partners and colleagues. Employers who recognise the issue and take steps to support their teams are already seeing the benefits in retaining and engaging their people. Absenteeism is reduced and the impact on the employer reputation is already seeing an improvement in staff attraction.

In a candidate-led market, we have seen candidates favouring companies that have progressive policies, such as a menopause policy.  It stands to reason that having an attractive employer value proposition (such as valuing wellbeing and ED&I matters) can help you stand out from the crowd.

What should a menopause policy look like? Here are a few ideas;

  • Foster an environment in which colleagues can openly and comfortably instigate conversations or engage in discussions about menopause.
  • Ensure everyone understands what menopause is, can confidently have good conversations, and are clear on company policy and practices.
  • Educate and inform managers about the potential symptoms of menopause, and how they can support women at work.
  • Ensure that women suffering with menopause symptoms feel confident to discuss it, ask for support and request reasonable adjustments so that they can continue to be successful in their roles or studies.
  • Assure women that you are a responsible employer, committed to supporting their needs during menopause.
  • Everyone could be impacted by menopause in some way so best practice is to include everyone.

My experience

Looking back, I was 43 when I became perimenopausal and at the time it never crossed my mind that the symptoms I was experiencing could be the perimenopause.

I had a few personal things happening at the time so put it down to stress. The symptoms got worse, and it was only when a colleague in the office suggested I go to the Doctor and explain how I felt that I realised what was happening to me. I had also felt like driving off a cliff and never coming back!

Employers can have all the policies in the world, but perimenopause is so hard to pinpoint and easily mistaken for depression.

Keep an eye out for your colleagues and maybe have someone who has been through the experience have a catch up chat every month or keeping a look out for symptoms. Keep an open dialogue.

I felt like I had lost my joy. I couldn’t feel happy about anything and even though I had a loving family I could not find a meaning to life. I felt minimised, sad and grey.

The other thing was I gained weight, especially around my middle - my shape changed, and my memory was terrible! It still is and it's so frustrating!

I have been on HRT for nearly a year. Within 24 hours the result was transformational. It was like the light had been switched on again.

I still struggle with anxiety, insomnia and low mood but I can now talk about it at my workplace and feel I am in a safe space. The support I have received from my colleagues at work has been instrumental in helping me get back to myself. It is a safe and open subject to talk about and that has been so valuable. I could not imagine going through all of this without that support.

Nik Pratap
Lorraine Pratap
Elise Walsh
Gillian McBride
Nicola Worrow
Joe Ingham
Amanda O’Neill
Karen Caswell
Dale Spink
Charlotte Morgan-Smith
Henry Clarkson
Gemma Hutchinson
Jess Lister
Lucy Miles

Other articles