October was Menopause Awareness Month. This year’s theme – “cognition and mood” – focuses on “menopause brain fog”, caused by a collection of symptoms that occur around the time of the menopause. These include:
Each of these symptoms can severely affect the people experiencing them.
With even the most cursory glance, it’s not difficult to see how any of your employees going through menopause may find some elements of their work more challenging.
Menopause in the workplace statistics
An estimated 13 million people are currently peri or menopausal in the UK – equivalent to a third of the entire UK female population.
Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace and make up nearly half of the UK workforce. And 9 out of 10 women have said that they feel that menopause has a negative impact on their working lives.
According to the faculty of occupational medicine, almost 8 out of 10 menopausal people are in work. This means that it’s vital that employers arm themselves with knowledge about the difficulties menopause may cause for their team members.
Unfortunately, the majority of women still find they are unable to talk to managers at work about the menopause or the problems that their symptoms cause.
Shame and stigma still surround menopause, leaving many suffering in silence
In her Channel 4 documentary (well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it), Davina McCall admitted to feeling shame and embarrassment when she started to experience symptoms of the menopause.
Like many women, she also found it difficult to speak about it with friends. This means it’s highly likely that women will find it even harder to talk about in the workplace.
If women lack confidence to discuss symptoms with their managers and workplaces lack policies and tools to support menopausal women, there’s a danger that, where symptoms affect work, it could be wrongly attributed to poor performance rather than health.
And there is clearly still much work to do in educating and destigmatising the topic.
4 ways to support employees and increase menopause awareness at work
1. Download official resources
There’s a growing amount of information on menopause symptoms as well as rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
Every year, the International Menopause Society release official resources for World Menopause Day. You can find white papers, information leaflets, engagement tool kits, and more to help raise awareness and open lines of communication about menopause in the office.
2. Plan training sessions and events
The first challenge in raising menopause awareness is to tackle the stigma that surrounds it. Educate others about what happens during the menopause – and avoid limiting this to women only. Increasing understanding is key for all of us.
It can also be hugely beneficial to invite staff members to share their own experiences of the menopause – so long as they are comfortable doing so.
Alternatively, consider creating an informal support group to give employees a safe space where they can discuss their experience and offer support to others.
3. Talk openly about the menopause
As we’ve already established, women find it difficult to talk about the menopause. This is particularly true when in the workplace, as they’re afraid it will jeopardise their job.
One of the biggest challenges you face in raising menopause awareness is to tackle the stigma surrounding it. Turn the menopause into a normal topic of conversation – don’t shy away from talking about it openly in meetings and emails.
The best organisations will also introduce awareness sessions and train line managers on how to have the right conversations and offer the best support.
4. Offer support through specialist apps like Peppy
Peppy is an app offering expert personalised support service to its members.
While there are similar apps available, Peppy is available as an auxiliary benefit with group private medical insurance scheme through Vitality who were the first private medical insurer in the UK to offer menopause support.
From improving menopause symptoms to increasing employee satisfaction, the Peppy app provides dedicated menopause support that can transform your people – and your business.
Through the app, users can access:
And it’s not only menopause support, either. Peppy offers a complete range of health support for employees – specialising in both men’s and women’s health.
Get in touch
When it comes to arranging benefits for your staff, we know that one size doesn't fit all. So, we start by listening to you and understanding your requirements, then we source solutions that encompass you and your employees' healthcare and wellbeing needs.
If you want to learn more about educating employees about the menopause and offering practical support to your women workers, please get in touch. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 055 6585.
Back to News & Views