Earlier this week we published an article explaining the importance of menopause education in the workplace. This life-changing period is still a taboo topic for employers and employees to openly discuss, however, breaking this bias could make the workplace a more inclusive and productive place for all.
Here are some ideas that would create a more menopause-friendly workplace.
While this seems like a logical thing to do, teaching management about menopause is usually skipped. If education surrounding symptoms and challenges women face was added to training courses – like how finance and conflict management are – managers would be able to approach situations with more knowledge and compassion.
For example, they may be able to recognize behavior as linked to menopause rather than dismissing it as a lack of effort and engagement or making sure their needs are catered to in the office by simply keeping it ventilated.
Improve flexibility in hours and sick days
This point is probably the most important for women going through menopause. The process causes some seriously unpleasant side effects and hugely disrupts sleep, though women are normally forced to conform to traditional hours. If a person is getting little sleep for an extended period and still has to come to work at eight or nine a.m., their mental health and work performance are going to diminish.
It would make more sense if menopausal women had some flexibility on their starting time, had opportunities to go home to manage their symptoms and resume work later, and possibilities to do their job from home in a more comfortable environment.
Allowing women the flexibility to look after themselves as well as improve their standard of work seems like a no-brainer. Adding sick-day policies for people going through menopause could also take a huge weight off people’s shoulders.
Appointing in-office advocates
Having a go-to person or people in the office to discuss anything menopause-related could be hugely helpful. These advocates would be there to educate workers on special absence allowances, wellness programs, and flex policies. They could also relay suggestions and difficult topics to leadership by speaking on the behalf of other women if requested.
Offer support and information on menopause to all
Some offices provide direct support and information for their employees on a whole range of health-related fronts, like numbers to quit smoking, lose weight, and mental health support. By adding menopausal support onto this list, women going through this change could feel more supported from the place where they spend most of their waking hours.
It’s not only important to provide support and education for the individuals experiencing menopause, but also to the rest of the team. By creating an open environment in the office, some self-consciousness and worry can be stripped from the women experiencing it.