How do you support women coping with the menopause in your organisation?

Vicki Ford Smith 2019

Vicki Ford-Smith
Consultant, Assurity Consulting
17th June 2021

I hadn’t really given it much thought, but I did a bit of research and the main symptoms of the menopause include:

  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Problems with memory or concentration;
  • Hot flushes;
  • Night sweats;
  • Low mood or anxiety; and
  • Aches and pains.

In some cases, these can be severe symptoms. Menopause normally starts between the ages of 45-55, but for some women it can start when they are a lot younger.

I was thinking that if I had a medical condition and I was experiencing these symptoms, I would speak to my line manager or the HR team, but would I feel comfortable talking to them because I was going through the menopause? But in occupations where a high level of concentration is needed or in safety critical roles, a lack of sleep or good quality sleep could have a significant impact on someone’s work.

It would be really beneficial as an employer to know that an employee is experiencing menopausal symptoms, so that they can discuss the situation with the woman, and put in place helpful measures so they can still work safely, or to help with their wellbeing.

For women experiencing hot flushes, a simple solution could be to provide a fan or move desk location to one by the window. However, to do this the woman has to tell their employer about their symptoms, and the employer must be open to understanding the situation.

I would imagine that most employers would want to help their employees who are going through the menopause, and support them whilst at work with any symptoms that they are experiencing, especially for women who are suffering a significant impact from the symptoms.

I don’t think that I am going to change the world by writing this insight, but I would say that if you are a woman going through the menopause and you are suffering, explain this to your employer. If you are an employer be receptive to your employee and talk openly about the menopause and educate yourself to what a woman may be experiencing, and how you can support them.