Creating a Supportive Workplace: A Managers Guide to Support Colleagues Through Menopause
Menopause is a natural phase of life that many people experience.
Others may experience a medical or surgical menopause.
Sadly, the generation of people experiencing menopause have not been well educated in menopause and studies show that 86% of *women neither truly know what it is, nor how it will impact them.
Without the right education, menopause can have a significant impact on physical and mental well-being.
Consequently, it may affect their work performance.
The reality, is that with the right education and support, people can stay on their A-game, throughout menopause.
As a manager, you can have a significant role in creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, that addresses the unique needs of all colleagues going through menopause.
In this guide, we'll explore practical strategies to show you how you can support your colleagues and foster an environment that promotes their well-being and success.
It doesn't matter who you work with. You may not be aware that they will be experiencing menopause. Creating a menopause savvy AND supportive workplace is important.
You never know who is going to be affected by menopause, but you can be sure that someone will be.
Simply put, menopause involves the end of menstrual periods and a decrease in hormone production.
Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
It's important to understand, and never downplay these symptoms and their potential impact on work performance and productivity.
Top tips for creating a supportive workplace:
1. Educating colleagues and raising awareness of menopause:
Conduct workshops or training sessions to educate employees about menopause, its symptoms, and its impact on individuals in the workplace
Share educational materials and resources to increase understanding and empathy among colleagues (contact me for our free courses and resources)
2. Offering flexible work arrangements:
Where the role allows, provide flexibility in work hours to accommodate varying energy levels and symptom management. Trust that your team members know when they are at their best and allow them to set their own schedules
Consider options for remote work or job sharing to empower individuals to manage their work environment and schedule effectively. When you allow people to work in a way that works for them, you enable them to do their best for you
3. Providing access to resources and support:
Share information about menopause-related resources, such as healthcare providers, support groups, and online communities. Ensure these are available to everyone
Collaborate with HR to update company policies and benefits to address the needs of individuals going through menopause
4. Encouraging open communication and dialogue:
Foster a workplace culture that encourages open and honest conversations about menopause. There should be no taboo around menopause or menstruation for that matter. A natural stage of life that affects over half the population should be something as matter as fact as discussing a visit to the dentist
Schedule regular check-ins to provide opportunities for colleagues to express concerns, ask for support, or discuss potential workplace adjustments
How Can Managers Provide Practical Support in a Menopause Savvy Workplace:
1. Offering regular breaks:
Allow individuals to take short breaks throughout the day to manage symptoms like hot flashes or fatigue. There is no need to micromanage every hour
Provide a designated space where employees can take a break, relax, or cool down if needed
2. Providing access to comfortable working conditions:
Ensure access to a comfortable temperature setting, such as air conditioning or fans, to alleviate hot flashes and promote a more comfortable work environment. Giving your people autonomy over their working environment allows them to adjust as needed throughout the day
Consider ergonomic adjustments, such as supportive chairs or standing desks, to address physical discomfort. Don't use the cost as a reason to avoid making adjustments: the cost of dealing with matters as they arise is far less than playing catch up later on
3. Allowing adjustments to work schedules or workload:
Accommodate requests for flexible start or end times to manage fatigue or medical appointments. Make it easy to make such requests: you aren't doing people a 'favour'. You are supporting them and exercising your duty of care as an employer, and giving them the best chance of doing their best work for you
Regularly review workload expectations and consider adjusting or redistributing tasks to alleviate stress and prevent burnout
4. Providing access to healthcare resources and support:
Share information about health insurance benefits, including coverage for menopause-related healthcare services, counselling, or therapy
Encourage individuals to take time off for necessary medical appointments or treatments without fear of repercussions
Signpost to your Employee Assistance programme
(Safeguard - check first of all what your third party providers offer)
1. Encourage open and honest dialogue:
Create a safe and inclusive environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their experiences, concerns, and needs related to menopause
Encourage colleagues to share their preferences for support openly
2. Avoid stigmatising language or stereotypes:
Promote the use of inclusive language that avoids stigmatising or dismissive terms when discussing anything from menopause to menstruation
Encourage all employees to use respectful language and challenge any stigmatising comments or attitudes they encounter. 'Harmless jokes' are often the most stigmatising of all - be sure to lead by example by showing that such humour isn't in favour
3. Demonstrating empathy and understanding:
Show empathy by actively listening to employees who are going through menopause and validating their experiences
Acknowledge the impact menopause can have on their well-being and assure them that their needs and concerns are valid and important
Offer support and reassurance that the organisation values their well-being and is committed to creating a supportive work environment
Managers who support colleagues going through menopause are essential for creating a workplace culture that values diversity, inclusivity, and employee well-being.
By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can play a pivotal role in fostering a supportive environment where individuals going through menopause can thrive personally and professionally.
Remember managers, support your colleagues during this transitional menopause phase. It not only benefits them individually but also contributes to a more compassionate and successful workplace as a whole. You and your whole organisation benefits when menopause becomes something to support rather than ignore.
Take the first step today and be the champion of a supportive workplace culture that empowers all employees, including those going through menopause.
Click HERE to hear more best practice and how we can partner with you to become truly menopause savvy & supportive.
Together, we can create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued, understood, and supported.
Your coach & trainer,
CEO, Women of a Certain Stage
*Women = where women has been cited this refers to specific studies where women have been participants. In reality, menopause may be experienced by anyone assigned female at birth including some non-binary, transgender and gender questioning colleagues
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