In 1821 a French physician named Charles Pierre Louis De Gardanne coined the term la ménépausie (menopause). We have been calling this stage in life the menopause for over 200 years, but we still say it in a whisper.
October is World Menopause Month and Sunday 18 October is identified as Menopause Day which provides an opportunity to think about how readily we feel able to discuss this issue in the workplace. Informing employees about the menopause and enabling colleagues to support an employee who is going through this stage in their life, can have benefits for everyone in the workplace.
Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic and the symptoms that can occur at peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause can significantly impact on performance and attendance.
You can support your employees by increasing awareness and facilitating discussions, to enable the employee to share with you how they are feeling and what impact the menopause is having on them, not only physically, but emotionally. The menopause can affect the employee's mental health, and for some women they may experience depression and anxiety which they may have never had symptoms of before.
Where appropriate managers can implement reasonable adjustments and support flexible working requests, to enable the employee to continue to be productive and feel that their health and wellbeing is being championed by you, as their employer.
If the employee's symptoms are impacting upon their ability to perform their role, or to attend work, then seek advice early on from occupational health and/or a counselling service, to enable you to provide the right support.
The key points to managing an employee going through the menopause are: to understand the impact the menopause is having on the employee, have appropriate conversations, be proactive in your approach, encourage the employee to seek support, consider any possible disability aspect and most importantly listen.
Below is a link to a short video