Menstrual health and menopause in the workplace
Posted on 1st June 2023 at 11:10
The Menstruation, menstrual health and Menopause in the Workplace standard (BS 30416) sets out practical recommendations for workplace adjustments as well as strategies that can help employers meet the needs of those experiencing menopause or menstruation. ( click here to read )
Women can experience a range of challenges related to menopause and periods in the workplace and as an employer its important to know how best to support your staff.
Here are some common problems that women may face
Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. However, the accompanying symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating can impact work performance and overall well-being. These symptoms may lead to decreased productivity, increased sick leave, and difficulty in managing work-related stress.
Hormonal changes during menopause can affect women's emotional well-being and mental clarity. Some women may experience increased anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, which can impact their ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues.
Menstrual pain and discomfort can be particularly challenging for women in the workplace. Conditions like dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual pain) can cause reduced productivity, absenteeism, and difficulty focusing on tasks.
Stigma and embarrassment
Menopause and periods are often considered taboo subjects, and there can be a stigma associated with discussing these topics openly in the workplace. This can lead to women feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable when addressing their needs related to menstruation or menopause symptoms.
Lack of understanding and support
Employers and colleagues may not always be knowledgeable about the physical and emotional challenges women face during menopause and periods. This lack of understanding can result in a lack of support and accommodations necessary for women to manage their symptoms effectively.
Inadequate workplace policies
Some workplaces may not have adequate policies in place to address the specific needs of women experiencing menopause or menstruation. This can include insufficient access to sanitary products, lack of private spaces for changing or disposing of menstrual products, and limited flexibility in work arrangements to accommodate menopausal symptoms.
Menopause coincides with a stage in a woman's career where she may be seeking advancement or leadership roles. The challenges posed by menopause and periods can impact career progression if not properly addressed, leading to missed opportunities and potential discrimination.
What can employers do
It is important for workplaces to create an inclusive and supportive environment for women by implementing policies that address these issues and fostering open dialogue around menopause and menstrual health. By doing so, employers can promote gender equality, employee well-being, and retention.
It is essential that training is implemented for managers, supervisiors and HR managers to deal with this topic. Plus ensure your workplace has facilities such as quiet spaces and discrete changing rooms. In the report options for flexible working are also advised.
Tagged as: menopause, menopause and the workplace, support at work with menopause, workplace menopause
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