Is there any connection at all between menopause and work? That is a question that many would not consider, and in most cases, they’d be right. Most of the time there isn’t anything that ties the two together. But that is not always the case.
Women experience menopause differently. Some can breeze through it with grace, without experiencing overwhelming negative symptoms. However, other women have more trouble with menopause and don’t transition well. It is important for them to get the right support for it, to have an open discussion about it and help the issue to become less of a bother for them in the workplace. Nowadays, there are some consequences for women employees going through menopause and their employers. In this guide, we will talk about them all.
Nowadays, women going through menopause constitute one of the fastest-growing demographics of the workforce. On average, the age at which women experience menopause is 51, although in some cases it can start even earlier. 8 out of 10 women are working when they enter menopause. 3 out of 4 women experience various menopause symptoms, and 1 out of 1 experiences serious symptoms, which require medication or some other treatment, due to their severity.
The reality is that there is an ageing demographic, with new entrants from education on the low side. As such, organisations need to adapt and cater to their older workers, in this case, women going through menopause, to ensure they retain their talent and use it for the business. As such, it is a good idea to think about it as a two-way street. Menopausal women often need the work for more than just a salary. It is a source of self-esteem, fulfilment and a certain identity for them, which serves to fulfil social needs too. On the other hand, if the working environment lacks temperature control, there are too many people cramped together and the nature of the work is too stressful, menopause symptoms in women can easily become worse.
As it was already mentioned, women experience menopause differently. From physical symptoms like headaches, sleep issues, hot flushes and period irregularities, to psychological symptoms like low mood, anxiety and poor concentration, the plethora of symptoms is different for everyone. Half the women don’t even seek out medical advice and don’t even feel comfortable sharing menopause problems with their managers. This means there is a certain negative perception of menopause, making women feel embarrassed to talk about it. But for women who are well-aware of the symptoms, their quality of life and work can return to normal much more quickly. This is especially the case when there is also knowledge and active steps taken at the workplace to foster this process.
Line managers in general don’t feel confident enough to talk about menopause with women. They don’t fully understand menopause and don’t know how they can help. There is a certain need for training, for line managers to understand how they can help their women employees and what sort of support they can provide. Sometimes it is very steps, which are also cost-friendly – a desk fan, or some time off to visit their doctor, etc.
There are compelling reasons for managers and organisations to support menopausal women in the workplace. It not only creates a culture of inclusion but also sets the stage for establishing good colleague relationships. And when all of that is present, the company can develop as well.