Awareness of menopause in the workplace is growing – which can only be a good thing.
Businesses are beginning to understand more about the demographics of menopause. They are beginning to understand more about why it makes good sense to support their female employees who are going through this stage of life – both economic sense and in terms of good practice.
However, one thing we are hearing at Menopause and Me is that often Team Leaders are failing to spot the signs that a female employee is struggling with menopausal symptoms, and are relying on their female employees talking to them, which some women are reluctant to do for many different reasons.
There are currently 34 recognised symptoms of menopause, ranging from the common symptoms of hot flushes and sleep difficulties, through to less common symptoms such as burning mouth syndrome and dizzy spells.
Three out of every four women experience symptoms, and for one of those three the symptoms will be severe and debilitating. So, although menopause is a natural stage of life, and not an illness, it does cause issues.
So, what are those issues and what can Team Leaders look out for? They might notice:
- A reduced engagement with work
- Reduced job satisfaction
- Reduced commitment
- Higher sickness absence or not seeming ‘to be there’
- An increased desire to leave work altogether.
Symptoms of menopause can also impact certain skills and abilities such as:
- Time management
- Emotional resilience
- Ability to complete tasks effectively
- Self confidence
- Ability to make decisions
- Ability to concentrate
- Ability to learn new things
Becoming aware of these issues, and being open to a conversation around them, is an excellent starting point. Small, inexpensive changes can sometimes be all it takes for a woman to feel more able to cope in the work environment. A raised awareness, and an opportunity for women to access both formal and informal support, can in themselves make a huge difference, and enable a business to retain skills and experience.