Menopause and the workplace.

Premfina’s CFO, Steve McCann and Marketing Associate, Katie Boland were invited to attend a talk about the Menopause at Aviva’s headquarters in London, featuring Colm Holmes, Global CEO of Aviva and Andrea Woodhouse, Co-Chair of Aviva Generations. The event aimed to shift perceptions, particularly in business settings because of the negative connotations that are often associated with the Menopause.

Considering Menopause affects every single woman at some stage and men are also likely affected by it second hand- whether in the workplace and/or at home, it’s a topic that touches every single one of us and deserves the same level of recognition that we afford mental health and physical illnesses.

1 in 4 women think of leaving the workplace because of it and as Andrea Woodhouse put it: “it’s about shifting perceptions and making it a business case so that women don’t feel like the only option is to leave their careers, afraid of breaking the taboo and explaining why it is that they really feel unwell.”

“Women are at the pinnacle of their career in terms of seniority, they’ve also got bigger responsibilities at home than ever before and then along comes menopause.” But menopause doesn’t have to be debilitating, it is only debilitating when it is viewed as suffering that is endured alone and in silence.  

Advice regarding how to empower women to be honest and thus reduce the likelihood of them leaving a job, or suffering in silence, starts with using positive language when talking about the Menopause. Referring to it as an achievement for example, is a more positively aligned way of viewing the topic as opposed to viewing it as something to be dreaded.

Further, human development has meant that in the 1900s women on average lived until they were 53 and reached menopause at 51. Nowadays, the average life expectancy for women is 83 and the average age of achieving menopause remains at 51. Thus, women still have a substantial amount of time left to live, wherein milestones such as the Menopause should be celebrated and not feared.

Given that 47% of women in a survey declared that they had taken time off for symptoms such as brain fog and insomnia related to the Menopause, but had not told their line manager why – PremFina are committed to following best practice advice given on the day regarding how to be supportive of our employees. Along with personal recommendations, these include:

  • Reasonable adjustments such as fans or access to fresh air and water
  • Breaks during long meetings
  • Quiet areas or headphones allowed to help concentration  
  • Flexible working if employee’s have issues sleeping
  • Including menopause as an option to log sickness at work, as it is largely ignored
  • Counselling or hypnotherapy
  • Starting a menopause group at work or amongst your friends
  • Celebrate World Menopause Day

Ultimately, the cost to a business of ignoring the Menopause includes not only losing valued staff, but possible employment tribunals, productivity loss, rehiring and training costs and more importantly reputational risk.

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