Menopause awareness is important for workplaces and a valuable thing to offer for all your colleagues.
With each women experiencing menopause differently, this can present a wide variety of symptoms and difficulties for the workplace.
Women currently represent 47% of the UK workforce and 28% of them are aged 50 and above.
Women aged 50 to 64 (menopausal age range) are the fastest growing economically active group in the UK.
The thing is, it can be hard to know where to start with menopause awareness and I’m guessing you don’t have time to Google for hours on end going down the menopause rabbit hole.
Here’s 10 key things managers should know about menopause
1. What is menopause?
Contrary to belief menopause isn’t when a woman has the majority of her menopausal symptoms.
Menopause is one day.
It’s the day she’s gone 12 months consecutively without having a period.
2. What is peri-menopause?
The peri-menopause is the phase leading up to the menopause when a woman’s hormone balance starts to change and for some women this can start as early in their 20s or as late as their late 40s.
Peri-menopause is when she’ll have the majority of her symptoms.
3. What is post-menopause?
Post menopause is the time after a women has been without a menstrual period for 12 months.
During this stage menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes can get milder or go away.
How many women does menopause happen to?
All women will go through menopause.
For some the transition will be almost unnoticeable but for some it will be debilitating.
The trans and non-binary community.
Members of the trans and non-binary community can suffer menopause symptoms.
4. What menopause-related symptoms can your colleagues experience?
Symptoms range from cognitive, physical and psychological and they can include hot flushes, heart palpitations, fatigue, sleep disturbance, dry eye conditions, muscular aches, headaches as well as night sweats, skin irritations, irritability, anxiety, and or mood disturbances, poor concentration, and brain fog, and the need for more toilet breaks.
It tends to be the psychological symptoms that most women struggle with.
5. how long can menopause-related symptoms last?
On average peri-menopause symptoms can last around four years.
However around one in every 10 women can experience them for up to 10 to 12 years.
6. What are the most common physical menopause-related symptoms your colleagues can experience?
The most common menopause-related symptoms are:
- Chills and cold sweats
- Heavy periods
- Hot flushes
- Irregular periods
- Muscle and joint pain
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
7. What are the most comon psychological menopause-related symptoms your colleagues can experience?
- Anger and irritability
- Brain fog
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Loss of confidence
- Loss of self-esteem
- Poor concentration
8. how can menopause-related symptoms affect your colleague at work?
Here’s what a couple of women said:
The hot flushes were crippling and obvious to all with sweat dripping down my face in the middle of difficult meetings.
Source the Royal College of Midwives Case Study
The insomnia is an ongoing problem. Working from home makes this more manageable.
Source the Royal College of Midwives Case Study
I had no idea that the mental health challenges, would absolutely knock me over. I went from kicking front doors in, literally, to hiding behind my front door.
I could not function. That is how debilitating it was.
Previous Inspector West Midlands Police
9. What support can the workplace put in place to help those struggling with their menopause-related symptoms?
Popular ways to help are:
- Hold menopause awareness sessions for all
- Menopause awareness training for managers
- Create and share menopause policies or guidelines
Put in place practical ways to support your colleagues.
Some ideas are:
- Providing sanitary products in toilets
- Easier access to cold drinking water
- Desk fans
- Moving colleagues to sit by a window that opens
- Moving colleagues to sit closer to toilets
- Flexible working
- Doing a risk assessment
- Take a pulse poll – ask for what support they’d like and / or ideas for support
- Hold lunch and learn sessions
10. is there an increase in menopause related tribunals?
The Menopause Experts Group found that there were 23 employment tribunals citing menopause in 2021, an increase of 44 per cent on the 16 cases seen in 2020.
Want to know more about our training for menopause awareness for your workplace?
We provide an online menopause awareness course for managers and a selection of live online training sessions.
Here’s some further reading too:
Why people don’t talk to their boss about menopause symptoms
Can menopause affect the mental health of your colleagues?
What you need to know about reasonable adjustments