The menopause is a natural part of ageing for women and usually occurs for women between the ages of 45 and 55, however, 1 in 100 women will experience premature menopause.
There is a long list of menopause symptoms, which can include hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes, to name just a few. Symptoms that are difficult to deal with, especially if done so in silence and over a prolonged period of time. At work, these symptoms can cause stress and embarrassment and completely diminish confidence. None of which are the ingredients for a happy and productive employee.
By introducing a policy and the language associated with the menopause into the working environment, you begin to normalise the topic and the symptoms. By raising awareness and providing basic training for managers you help reduce the stigma attached and encourage employees to talk more openly.
You should look to address any potential health and safety concerns, such as the temperature and ventilation of environment; access to cold drinking water; toilet and washroom facilities being easily accessible; and potentially somewhere for workers to rest.
Lastly, employers and managers should carefully and compassionately manage sickness/absences or a slip in job performance. It is rarely as black and white as first appears, it is important that concerns on both sides are addressed and an amicable solution is reached.
In conclusion, it is important to be aware that the menopause is a natural and temporary stage in women’s lives and that not all women experience significant symptoms. The menopause has been regarded as a taboo subject. This is changing as employers gradually acknowledge the potential impact of the menopause on women and become aware of the simple steps they can take to be supportive.