A recently published guide from the CIPD and Bupa reflects on the best practices for line managers to support women going through menopause.
Research from the CIPD has revealed that menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. The menopause typically happens between age 45 and 55, but for some women can be later.
In addition to this, at least a quarter of these women experience debilitating symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats and increased anxiety.
As such, close to a million menopausal women have left their job due to these symptoms, leading to a drain in talent and loss of productivity for businesses.
Due to this, the CIPD have called on organisations to recognise when support is needed regarding this topic and to avoid making this a taboo area to discuss.
The body encourages line managers to start this conversation in an open, honest and sensitive way. This includes avoiding interruptions or judgmental comments, listening actively and carefully, showing empathy and understanding and avoiding making assumptions.
Furthermore, the guidance stipulated that if the employee does mention any health conditions, this should be regarded as strictly confidential unless consent is explicitly given to share this information.
Additionally, the CIPD state that line managers will be required to carry out risk assessments and make appropriate adjustments.
Risk assessments should consider the specific needs of menopausal women and ensure that the working environment will not make their symptoms worse. This can include looking at: temperature and ventilation, materials used in any uniform or corporate clothing and access to toilet facilities and access to cold water.
On top of this, the CIPD state that managers have a responsibility to consider and put in place reasonable adjustments to alleviate or remove these barriers wherever possible.
To identify these potential issues, line managers should have a confidential, two-way conversation with the individual concerned, to identify the specific issues that person is experiencing. The CIPD advise consulting relevant experts and keeping these adjustments under review as symptoms may fluctuate.
Adjustments can take the form of both physical arrangements e.g. providing a fan, changing the temperature of the office or offering flexible work arrangements such as changing start times, altering shift patterns or allowing regular breaks.
Finally, the CIPD encourage employers to manage performance proactively and positively.
As such, the body advises having regular, informal catch-ups with employees, approaching performance conversations supportively and positively, taking health issues into account and identifying any extra support the person may need.
*The full guidance from the CIPD and Bupa ‘A Guide to Managing Menopause at Work’ can be found here.