Yes, I have said it the dreaded ‘M’ word. I had a delightful weekend with my friends and one of the many topics we discussed (most of which I would have to censor), was that we know the next decade of our lives with undoubtedly involve the ‘M ‘word. Did you know that research from the CIPD shows that almost 60% of women say that menopause symptoms have a negative impact on their working lives? These include;
- 65% Difficulties in concentrating
- 58% Increased stress
- 52% Loss of patience with clients and colleagues
Almost a third said that they needed to take sick leave due to menopause, yet only a quarter felt able to explain to their manager exactly why they needed to take leave.
Women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the workplace, and most will go through the menopause transition during their working life. Employers need to take practical steps to support their people.
If we bury our heads about this as business owners, then we run the risk of losing valuable, senior female talent. Many organisations are finally recognising the importance of diversity within their workplace and the value and importance in promoting talented women into senior roles. However, through lack of understanding, menopause is holding organisations back. It is a predictable life change for women and yet most organisations fail to address the obvious.
What steps can we take as Business Owners to discuss menopause openly, ensure our managers have understanding and sign-post women to the right support?
This is not just something that impacts Women, it will indirectly impact Men too, so let’s not be embarrassed to talk about it. Let’s get educated and start to talk openly about this in the workplace. Dependant on the size of your business will depend on how much time can be invested in this. A few ideas for you that some of my clients have adopted are themed events with an expert speaker, menopause drop-in sessions (meno Café) and just putting some good quality information about it in breakout areas or on your intranet.
As mentioned earlier many women feel uncomfortable talking to their line manager about this, so they don’t, and they even take drastic action and leave. There are lots of resources available for Managers (many free) providing guidance on supporting employees.
There is a Menopause Workplace Pledge that both Employers and Employees can sign up to. By signing up to the pledge you are demonstrating your commitment to making your organisation a supportive an understanding place for employees going through the menopause.
Managers need to know the signs and report menopause related absence correctly. Menopause at work is covered by certain pieces of legislation to protect employees. Business owners must adhere to their own internal policies and procedures. Sometimes we find the guidance is there, but it simply isn’t being followed. If in doubt, contact your HR department or Consultant.
Useful link – wellbeingofwomen.org.uk
If you need further support in this area, then please contact the team at HPC – firstname.lastname@example.org
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