So many women leave their jobs because of their menopause, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are around 3.5 million women currently employed who are over the age of 50 in the UK. Around 50% of them have stated that work is fairly difficult because of the symptoms they are experiencing with the menopause. In addition to hot flushes and mood swings, the menopause can also affect energy, concentration and confidence. This can rapidly affect work performance. Interestingly, 10% of women stop working entirely because they experience severe symptoms regarding their menopause.
At the end of the day, it’s vital to know that work is good for those who are menopausal. It doesn’t just pay a salary, it provides self-esteem support, meets social needs and helps a woman to establish her identity. Menopause isn’t just a female issue at work , in fact, it’s an organisational issue. Managers have to make sure that they know how best to support their staff so that they can limit staff turnover while also making sure that they are reducing the stigma that is currently associated with menopause. If more and more people feel as though they can talk more openly about it, this will lead to a more productive workforce with happier employees. In the UK, the average age for the menopause is 51, but peri menopause symptoms can occur during the 40s and one in a hundred experience menopause before the age of 40.
What Businesses Can Do
Businesses need to make sure that they are taking the right steps to ensure that everyone is looked after when they are going through the menopause. Employers should take the time to train managers and supervisors, not to mention that everyone needs to understand how to have a conversation regarding the perimenopause or menopause in general. Knowing that organisational managers are open and able to talk about the topic will help them to listen to any sensitive topics of conversation, should someone build the courage to ask about it. It’s also advisable for an employer to raise awareness amongst staff, who may handle this issue. As always, dignity and respect are paramount.
The Option of Talking to Someone Other Than a Manager
Give an employee the option of talking initially to someone other than their manager. It may be that they feel as though their symptoms are personal, and therefore talking to someone privately from occupational health or HR could be an option. If the organisation has a wellbeing champion, then this could be a good person to discuss the issue in confidence. Occupational health can also raise awareness with training and support, occupational health is able to advise on workplace adjustments and refer to a specialist if required. Managing sickness absence or even a dip in job performance is essential because this is the best way to ensure that everyone is given the support and help, they need to feel confident and comfortable in the workplace. It is also worth bearing in mind that male employees may have concerns relating to the women in their life regarding the menopause – opportunity for them to have an open dialogue is an important factor to consider.
It’s important not to label this health topic as a taboo and to get talking. Do not let menopause impact negatively on a career you have worked so hard for. Stand up for others, talk about it and let it be known that it’s worth discussing, in the same way that pregnancy leave, or appointments are. This will help to break down the stigma and it will help countless women to stay in their jobs.
If you are a business looking to have more support in this area, so you can support your employees better. Fill out the contact form below to have a discussion on how we can help you.