Workplace menopause

11 Oct 2022

Menopause and the Workplace

Managers play a vital role in determining the health, wellbeing and engagement of their team.

Menopausal people are the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace. Everyone experiences the menopause differently and for some, symptoms can be both mentally and physically challenging.

Without the right support, at the right time, it is possible those experiencing symptoms will be unable to reach their full potential at work. This isn't only a disadvantage for the individual, but businesses also, as the person may begin to under-perform. Symptoms can impact work in varying degrees, but up to 10% of people going through the menopause consider leaving work altogether.

It is important to protect your employees by being able to recognise when support is needed and facilitate open conversations with employees about what they’re experiencing. Menopause shouldn’t be a taboo, and everyone should feel confident to have a conversation with their line manager, especially when they need guidance and advice.


How to start a conversation - or know that your staff need help

  • Regular private conversations or one to one’s should be a standard part of good management practice. In environments where these conversations happen, more people are comfortable to discuss their symptoms and how they are experiencing their work-life.
  • If someone advises they are experiencing symptoms/difficulties but is clearly uncomfortable with further discussion, managers should be aware of how external support could be offered. This could be through a referral to OH or suggesting a GP visit so the individual can discuss the difficulties in confidence.
  • Any disclosure by an employee to a manager should of course be treated as confidential.
    • The decision to have discussion with other team members should be very much led by the employee – it is important to ensure that all team members are respectful. 


Adapting the workplace

  • Create a culture of openness
    Distribute information about the menopause via your intranet, events, team meetings or posters/leaflets - to increase general awareness for all employees.
  • Provide options
    For those who may be experiencing hot flushes, you could reduce local temperature by offering them a desk closer to a window or away from a heat source, or get them a desktop fan.
  • Flexibility
    • Where sleep disturbance is troublesome, you could offer flexible working - for example a temporary change in work hours.
    • To help with hot flushes, you could consider flexibility in uniform/dress code to reduce layers or provide natural/cotton fabrics.
  • Accessible facilities
    Ensure everyone has access to changing facilities and cold water. Sudden hot flushes can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing, so an agreement that an employee can quickly leave the work area and go to a rest room/private area may be very helpful.

Although the menopause will only be experienced by women and other people who have a menstrual cycle, men should also be included in conversations and training. This is because they might be supporting others going through it.

Supporting and creating a positive and open environment between an employer and someone affected by the menopause can help prevent the person from:

  • losing confidence in their skills and abilities
  • feeling like they need to take time off work and hide the reasons for it
  • having increased mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression
  • leaving their job


Helpful resources for managers