Putting menopause firmly on the boardroom agenda

Today is World Menopause Day. Thankfully, menopause is much higher on the agenda and less of a taboo than it once was. But, at Skating Panda, we still believe there’s some way to go to normalising menopause, especially in the workplace. 

In Parliament, Carolyn Harris, Head of the Menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is leading the charge in getting support and services for those going through menopause.  She recently said: “Change is vital and we urge the new minister and government to give the menopause the attention it is due.” The Menopause APPG recently published a report, following a year-long enquiry, which recommends a series of parliamentary policy changes, including offering all women in their mid-40s health checks to ensure they receive support and care as early as possible. 

While widespread legislative change is definitely due, we wanted to look at what workplaces could do in the interim to support. This is especially important given: 

  • One in 10 women quit their jobs due to menopause 
  • 61% have lost motivation at work due to their symptoms 
  • 69% of those going through menopause experience difficulties with anxiety or depression 

These are just some of the startling statistics surrounding menopause and its impact in the workplace, as discovered by the Fawcett Society in their report Menopause in the Workplace.’  

When faced with facts like these, it can be overwhelming to try and understand what needs to be done. The truth is employers can and should do more to support employees who are experiencing menopause. There are a handful of ways they can improve their employees’ work life such as: 

  1. Signposting people towards the correct information. Those going through the menopause transition can experience more than 30 physical and mental conditions that could be affecting their personal and professional lives 
  2. Giving paid time off to have medical appointments and seek medical advice to get HRT where appropriate. Employers should balance the need for employees to be aware of professional accountability whilst reassuring them of their support 
  3. Adapting absence policies and providing flexible working policies to accommodate the changes in an employee’s life. Almost four in 10 women presently cite ‘other reasons’ for their time off, in fear of sharing their menopausal status and being criticised or treated as a joke 
  4. Implementing better environmental changes in the office. Examples include access to fans and ventilation, well-equipped toilet facilities, quiet workplace rest areas, and access to natural light 

Underpinning all these suggestions needs to be a commitment from employers to not only adjust the work surroundings (that might be ‘nice’ but doesn’t get to the root of the issues), but to ensure any policy changes are fully integrated into the work culture, by giving people choices and access to what they need to make effective and permanent change. After all, just because an employer announces new policies, it doesn’t necessarily mean people will begin feeling comfortable approaching their line manager about their menopausal health.  

And it shouldn’t be on an employee to bring about this change. Instead, it’s up to leadership to stand up and do what’s right for their business and their workers. It’s one of the reasons our CEO and founder, Andrea Hartley, spoke at the Dive In Festival on how to unlock change in the workplace and what it takes for an organisation to avoid losing menopausal individuals and to drive a productive and thriving work culture.  

It’s also one of the reasons Skating Panda has launched ‘Menopause: Unlock 52’ – a bespoke four-week sprint service that helps address menopause in the workplace, providing a clear pathway to unlocking productivity and employee wellbeing. We are sharing our extensive access to credible leaders in the menopause space, our vast knowledge across women’s health, and our deep understanding of systemic issues, to make sure there is real change in the workplace. 

If you would like to start your menopause learning journey, or if you have any questions, drop us a line on info@skatingpanda.com and we’d be happy to help!