Working through menopause – women crave employer support

working through menopause

A new study of women aged 45-64 working through menopause has found that 56% found stress at work makes their symptoms worse, leaving them in a vicious circle. Other findings of the survey perimenopausal and menopausal women found:

  • 81% of women say their employer doesn’t provide help with menopause or its symptoms
  • Two thirds of women don’t feel able to speak to their boss about the issues they face 
  • Over half say that stress at work makes menopause symptoms worse
  • 90% of female employees would be ‘more likely’ or ‘a lot more likely’ to join or stay at a company that has a menopause support plan

Menopause is mainstream

Managing menopause in the workplace is finally rising up the business agenda, but not before time. Women make up half the UK’s workforce and with 3.5 million aged 50 to 65 currently in the workplace, menopause is a mainstream issue for employers.

Employers need to catch up

As awareness rises and menopause matters take centre stage in society and at work, employers need to catch up and fast. Research (1) commissioned by Gympass – the world’s leading corporate wellness platform – shows that women are struggling to work through menopause, with empathy and support at the office in short supply.

A staggering 81% of the women aged 45-64 that Gympass spoke to say their employer doesn’t provide help and 66% didn’t feel able to speak to their boss about the challenges they face at work because of their symptoms. 

Impact of menopause at work

Despite the huge rise in awareness and waves of public support, a stigma remains around menopause in the workplace. The Gympass survey revealed that 45% of perimenopausal and menopausal employed women aged 45-64 have felt embarrassed by their menopause symptoms at work and a third of women have pretended their symptoms were something else at work to avoid mentioning their menopause by name.

The menopause symptoms most frequently experienced at work are hot flushes (66%), fatigue (55%), ‘brain fog’/confusion (51%) and anxiety (47%). Debilitating in themselves, feeling these symptoms in the workplace can seriously impact women’s experience and enjoyment of work. Worryingly, 56% said that stress at work makes menopause symptoms worse, leaving women in a vicious circle.

Almost a fifth of women have left a meeting or another room at work due to their menopause symptoms, and a quarter have taken time off to manage their menopause.

Working through menopause with support

“Our research shows that employers must act quickly to support their colleagues and find ways to help women work through menopause,” explained Luke Bullen, CEO at Gympass UK.

“Their effort could pay dividends in terms of retaining the experience and talent of mid-life women with our research showing 90% of women would be ‘more likely’ or ‘a lot more likely’ to join or stay at a company that has a menopause support plan.”

Free expert ideas for employees and employers

Responding to the research findings, Gympass has created a Menopause Hub offering free lifestyle advice and exercise guidance for women in partnership with WILD.ai – whose experts and app specialise in providing programmes in tune with women’s physiology at every stage of their life. Alongside this, Gympass has collaborated with Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace to create a free eBook Working Through Menopause to support employers and signpost them to resources, advice and training solutions.

“These findings are not a surprise to us and reflect previous research,” says Deborah Garlick, CEO of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace. “We see people every day who are struggling with menopause symptoms and with an increasing focus on menopause generally, more and more people are asking what their employers are doing. Six years ago, a menopause policy was unheard of, so we are seeing progress.

“Thankfully, forward-looking employers already recognise the compelling need and are reaping the benefits,” continues Deborah. “Many have now achieved Menopause Friendly Accreditation, demonstrating they’ve created a workplace where it’s easy to talk about menopause, raised awareness and support and trained their line managers and colleagues. The first UK employers to be accredited were HSBC UK, first direct, M&S Bank, ATOS and Aster Group.“

“Employers can start making improvements straight away through simple changes such as having a quiet breakout room, providing more cool water stations and offering flexible working hours to help colleagues manage their menopause symptoms at work,” continues Luke Bullen. “We would also recommend employers organise training for all colleagues about the menopause, nominate and train staff as Menopause Champions to lend support and take steps towards being accredited as a Menopause Friendly business.”

Access the Menopause Hub and download the free Working Through Menopause eBook here.

If you found Working through menopause interesting, you’ll find more tips for dealing with menopause on our women’s health channel.

Tags: , , , Last modified: February 8, 2022

Written by 6:42 pm Women's Health, Health • One Comment

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