How times in the workplace have changed! A few years ago, references to “women of a certain age” were about as close as anyone ever got to mentioning the largely taboo subject of the menopause.
But now society is recognising the need for more open conversations around a natural part of life, and menopause support is fast emerging as an important employee benefit.
Employers who fail to appreciate how such support can help both their employees and their own businesses models, via reduced absenteeism and presenteeism and more successful recruitment and retention – will get left behind.
Research results released last October by digital health app Peppy, found that 55% of employers saw demand for menopause support increase during the previous two years.
And, of those employers that did offer menopause support, 89% expected their organisation to be more attractive to staff of menopause age looking for jobs, and 88% expected to have more success in retaining staff of that age.
The same research also showed that 38% of employers said that staff had left their organisation due to menopause symptoms.
Additionally, 64% of HRs reported that their organisation had experienced staff taking time off sick because of such symptoms. Of these, 32% said they had experienced employees taking such sick leave ‘quite a few times’, and 50% said it had occurred a ‘couple of times’.
A lot of the help being offered by employers is general support for some of the menopause symptoms, such as sleep therapy and counselling to help with mental health and anxiety. But there is also a clear trend towards offering dedicated menopause support from a specialist professional.
This is important because the menopause is a highly specialist area, and even GPs need further training to immediately spot and act on its signs, thereby providing quicker access to treatment and minimising any mental health impact.
From fatigue and problems with joints to hot flushes and sleepless nights, each individual’s experience is different, and some women go through the menopause earlier than expected – which can result in them feeling confused and alone.
Although the average age in the UK for reaching the menopause is 51, women can reach it at any age between 45 and 55, or in some cases even younger or older. One in a hundred reach it by age 40.
Factors affecting the timing can include someone’s weight, the number of pregnancies they’ve had, whether they smoke, and when other women in their families reach their menopauses.
So, specialists are needed to join the dots and offer personalised advice, including treatment options.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can ease the symptoms of the menopause by topping up or replacing low levels of oestrogen. Most women will need to take progesterone too.
Other treatment options include talking therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to help with low and volatile mood, or clonidine to help with hot flushes and sweats.
An expert service, which employers can provide access to via their health and wellbeing benefits, can offer everything from self-help options and guidance on treatments to education to enable colleagues to support those going through the menopause.
Chase de Vere can fix you up with a suitable specialist package. Indeed, we recently launched our own Menopause Plan.
This includes a 45-minute consultation with a menopause-trained GP, personalised clinical advice on managing symptoms, a 30-minute GP follow-up consultation, within 12 months of the initial consultation, and 12 months’ access to a nurse-led Anytime HealthLine.
We can also help you decide whether you need to implement a menopause policy to help everyone in the organisation understand what the menopause is, what support is available to employees affected by it, and what training is provided to line managers.
The policy can, in addition, detail what flexibility menopause sufferers are entitled to. For example, are desk fans available to those with hot flushes? Can people change their uniform to something more comfortable? Are their workstations set up properly to reduce aches and pains?
If you wish to find out more about how Chase de Vere can help you provide employees with menopause support, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.