Further Guidance Supporting Staff Menopause and Menstruation in the Workplace

Further Guidance Supporting Staff Menopause and Menstruation in the Workplace

author

James Rowland

Commercial Director James leads Account Management, Sales and Marketing at Neathouse Partners.

Date

05 July 2023

Updated

11 July 2024
3 min read
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At Neathouse Partners, we consistently advocate for equality and inclusivity in your workplaces.

With this in mind, we want to share the new British standard, BS 30416.

This standard is designed to empower your business to effectively support your staff going through menstruation and experiencing symptoms of menopause.

Understanding The Impact On Your Employees 

Understanding The Impact On Your Employees 

Both menstruation and menopause are multifaceted, often misunderstood processes that can sometimes impact an individual's mental and physical health significantly.

The absence of open conversations and support when managing these topics can hinder employees from performing at their best and can make it challenging for your business to extend appropriate support.

According to a survey carried out by the UK Parliament in 2022, a whopping 92% of participants admitted to their work being affected by menopausal symptoms.

The same survey pointed out that the attitudes of peers and supervisors play a crucial role in the experiences of individuals undergoing menopause or menstruation, which only further highlights the importance of maintaining open communication around these topics across the workplace. 

How BS 30416 Helps Your Workplace

This guide serves as a practical toolkit adaptable for businesses across all sizes and sectors.

It was designed by a team of specialists in menstruation, menopause, HR, occupational health, and academics.

The goal of BS 30416 is to help businesses like yours identify and overcome misconceptions surrounding menstruation and menopause.

It helps you understand the impact of the associated stigma on your workplace culture and the support provided to your employees.

BS 30416 guides you on actions and adjustments that can enhance your employees' well-being, such as:

  • Adapting physical aspects of work
  • Implementing policy guidance and practices
  • Creating supportive workplace cultures
  • Refining work design
  • Promoting inclusivity
  • Employing evaluation and metrics

The guide includes practical annexes with checklists and tools like:

  • Tips for holding confidential discussions
  • Conversation topics and possible workplace adjustments based on symptoms
  • Team management considerations
  • Suggestions for facilitating culture change
  • Training considerations
  • Further reading

This invaluable resource is specifically beneficial for those responsible for managing employee workload, well-being, or the work environment.

How Menopause & Menstruation Might Impact Employees 

How Menopause & Menstruation Might Impact Employees 

Both menstruation and menopause are natural biological processes every woman goes through.

Menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55, but symptoms can commence several years before the actual menopause and continue for some years after the last period. 

These symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, memory problems, and physical symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, reduced muscle mass, and metabolic changes.

Some women may also experience mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression.

Menstruation, which starts in adolescence, involves a monthly cycle of hormonal changes. Symptoms can include abdominal cramps, bloating, mood swings, fatigue, and other premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

Some women also experience severe symptoms, a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

In the workplace, these symptoms can significantly impact productivity, job satisfaction, and overall performance.

Employees may find it challenging to concentrate, experience reduced confidence, and might have frequent absences due to severe symptoms.

Furthermore, the lack of understanding and support from colleagues and managers can contribute to an uncomfortable work environment.

How Employers Can Help

Creating a supportive environment for employees going through menstruation and menopause is crucial in maintaining their well-being and ensuring continued productivity. 

Here's how you can help:

Foster Open Dialogue

Initiate an open and inclusive dialogue about menstruation and menopause in the workplace.

Encourage discussions about their impact on working women to reduce stigma and increase understanding.

Consider offering educational resources and sessions for all staff to raise awareness about the changes women experience during these cycles.

Implement Supportive Policies

Develop workplace policies that specifically address menstruation and menopause.

These could include flexible working arrangements, provisions for rest and respite, and maintaining comfortable workplace environments.

Policies should also provide reasonable accommodations such as access to cold water and fans, easy access to restrooms, and regular breaks.

Provide Access to Resources and Support

Ensure employees have access to support and resources to manage their symptoms.

This could include occupational health services, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), and mental health resources.

Training and Education for Managers

Equip line managers with the knowledge to handle sensitive conversations and make necessary adjustments for affected employees by offering training sessions on menstruation and menopause.

By acknowledging and addressing menstruation and menopause openly and providing the necessary support, you can help ensure a more inclusive, supportive, and productive workplace for all.

Read our article on Menopause in the workplace for more tips. 

Summary

Menstruation and menopause are integral parts of every woman's life, and they can significantly impact their work life.

The British standard, BS 30416, offers critical guidance for businesses to support their employees effectively during these times. 

Implementing the guide's advice, which we have summarised above, can lead to a more inclusive and supportive work environment, fostering open dialogue about these often misunderstood biological processes.

This results in the breakdown of taboos and facilitates fair treatment for all employees.

Contact us on 01244 893776 if you need help adjusting your workplace policies and practices in line with the standard to ensure that every employee is valued, respected, and supported, regardless of the natural changes they are experiencing.

 

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