Menopause is a major transition that many people go through. Since menopause can take over a person’s health, no part of their life is unaffected by it. Unfortunately, many people experience symptoms of menopause while at work but are rarely supported.
Since this is such a significant transition that affects millions of people, businesses should be more open and supportive of their employees during this time. Read on to learn more about menopause, how it affects employees, and how employers can support them.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the transition that prepares the body for its golden years. It marks the end of the potential to become pregnant and therefore ends the menstrual cycle. It starts when a person is in their mid-40s to 50s and can last about a decade.
During this transition, people experiencing menopause will probably experience moodiness, mental health conditions, hormonal changes, and health concerns. Therefore, menopause will be a major factor in the person’s life, and it will be difficult for them to separate this transition from their work.
How Does Menopause Affect Employees At Work?
Symptoms of menopause will inevitably affect an employee at work at some point. It is a transition that takes over the emotions, mind, and body, making it difficult to be productive. Here are a few ways that menopause may affect employees’ work performance.
1. Moodiness And Mood Disorders
Hormonal changes that occur during menopause may make an employee moody. As a result, they may experience wilder mood swings than normal or moods they don’t normally feel or express.
Stress is also a common symptom of menopause and will only worsen if the person already has a history of chronic stress. This can lead to other mood and psychological conditions as well as burnout.
Furthermore, some employees with menopause develop mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. Though most cases aren’t severe, they can still impact work performance and connections with colleagues. In addition, employees with a history of mood disorders may see their symptoms worsen, which can take an even worse toll on their performance.
The changes that employees experience during menopause can be exhausting. Between the hormonal changes and sleeping issues, it’s no wonder menopausal people are often fatigued.
Fatigue can make it difficult for employees to concentrate and may reduce productivity. Furthermore, exhaustion may worsen moodiness and mood disorders as sleep deprivation makes people crankier even on the best of days.
3. Problems With Cognitive Functioning
Someone with menopause may experience minor problems with cognitive functioning. For example, they may forget important dates or names or get lost on the way to meetings (even if they have been to the location before). They may process information much more slowly, leading to decreased productivity and increased confusion.
What Can Businesses Do To Support Their Employees Experiencing Menopause?
The symptoms of menopause can derail a typical workday. For many people, their coworkers and employers don’t understand what is happening, so they aren’t sympathetic or supportive.
However, the work culture needs to change to support people experiencing menopause. Here are a few ways this can be done.
Employers should learn and understand the common symptoms of a person experiencing menopause. The lack of education is the biggest hurdle against menopausal people.
Employers are already educating themselves on the symptoms of major changes and conditions employees experience, so menopause should be added to the list.
For example, a pregnant woman can be excused for her forgetfulness because most people understand this as a normal symptom of pregnancy. However, an employee experiencing forgetfulness during menopause may be shamed or questioned for being so forgetful.
If you are an employer and wish to learn more about menopause and how it affects your employees, you can start your education by clicking here.
2. Improved Sick Leave Policies
People with menopause often experience symptoms that are difficult enough to interfere with work. Many days, it would be better for the person to rest and take a sick day than come into work at all. However, this is not always an option with most company sick time policies.
Increasing the amount of sick time for employees would provide more opportunities for rest and treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Furthermore, allowing for a flexible work schedule or allowing the employee to work from home more often would help the employee rest while maintaining their work performance.
3. Counseling And Mental Health Services
Employers should provide an employee assistance program if they haven’t done so already. This is an incredible resource that offers employees temporary free or affordable counseling. This can help menopausal people experiencing mood and emotional disorders.
Furthermore, employers should consider bringing on an onsite counselor. In addition to helping menopausal people with their emotional and psychological symptoms, counselors can greatly benefit all employees who experience struggles at work.
Menopause is a major transition that many people go through, and yet there is little support for them in the workforce. As a result, many employees hide their menopausal symptoms for fear of being shamed or even fired.
The talk around menopause in the workplace needs to change so that these employees can feel supported. With education, improved policies, and mental health services, employers can provide their employees with a safe and supportive environment to work during this important transition.
Arnab is a passionate blogger. He shares sentient blogs on topics like current affairs, business, lifestyle, health, etc. To get more of his contributions, follow Smart Business Daily.