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Supporting employees through the menopause

Tuesday the 18th of October is World Menopause Day. An event which aims to “raise awareness of the menopause and the support available for improving health and wellbeing”.


Here at Health Assured, we recognise the importance of menopause awareness and support in the workplace. To highlight this, we’ve signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge. We’re committed to supporting our employees through this stage of their careers, and we want to help other organisations provide this support too.



What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopause symptoms vary from person to person. Some people experience constant symptoms, while others get them few and far between. There’s no set rule, and symptoms also change over time. Here are a few of the common mental and physical symptoms:

  • Hot flushes

  • Insomnia and night sweats

  • Irregular periods and heavy bleeding

  • Painful menstruation cramps

  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism

  • Vaginal irritation

  • Joint stiffness, aches and pains

From this list, it is evident how an employee’s work can become difficult. What were once simple tasks now become strenuous, causing employees to feel demotivated and disengaged.


As a result of the above symptoms, or the hormone imbalance, individuals going through menopause can also experience psychological difficulties, including:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Mood swings

  • Irritability

  • Problems with memory

  • Loss of confidence

It is also commonly acknowledged that Hormone Replacement Therapy (a medication often prescribed for menopause) can have side effects which cause problems at work. These include nausea, headaches and leg cramps.



How to support employees through menopause?

As an employer, you have a duty of care to support the health and wellbeing of all your employees. This includes those struggling with any aspect of their role because of symptoms associated with menopause.


To provide the best support possible, we encourage open and honest communication, where employees can discuss their problems, your organisation listens and then works to help them. Here are some things your organisation can do to support those employees dealing with menopause:


Communication: Create an open and honest workplace where managers and employees can discuss any issue associated with menopause. Your employees must be able to talk about menopause and describe how it may affect their work and how you can offer the necessary support.

Confidentiality: When your employees broach the subject of menopause, the conversation must be kept confidential. Employees should know they can trust your organisation with personal problems.

Educate all employees: Help your employees better understand menopause by providing education and guidance. This education can help your managers and supervisors become more knowledgeable on the issue and, therefore, more approachable.

Help strengthen relationships: Ask employees how they feel and conduct regular check-ins. These check-ins can provide a comfortable platform for employees to voice any concerns.

Provide reasonable adjustments: When an employee’s mental and physical health is affected, you should help them by providing reasonable adjustments. These might include:

  • Changing working location

  • Allowing changes to rules on workwear

  • implementing additional temperature control

  • Allowing additional rest breaks

  • Considering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home

Treat cases individually: Every employee is unique, so you must treat them as individuals. Do not assume that every menopause-related problem has the same solution.


Review all issues raised: Raising a health issue to a manager can be difficult - especially if the supervisor is of the opposite sex. All managers must approach conversations with empathy and should not be embarrassed when discussing the issue.



 

This article was brought to you by

Health Assured logo

Your health and wellbeing is paramount. We are therefore proud to offer access to an Individual Assistance Programme (IAP), delivered by Health Assured – the UK and Ireland’s leading wellbeing provider. Health Assured is included in Club Perks for all Business and Individual Memberships from as little as £5 per month with Individual Membership. For more information visit Health Assured - Key Partner | Floristry Trade Club.

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