Menopausal women represent the fastest growing workplace demographic. According to menopause statistics, in 2018, 14 million workdays were lost due to menopause, and it’s estimated that by 2030, menopause-related productivity losses could cost more than £110 billion a year.
UKIM's Lead Occupational Health Advisor, Laura Sharp talks to us about Menopause in the Workplace
"I became interested in perimenopause/menopause and its effects on people in the workplace when I worked for the fire service. There were so many women having to become office based due to not being able to cope with their perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms while still being able to fight fires and deal with stressful situations.
I began to help these employees in my role as occupational health advisor by offering advice on diet, adjustments such as alternative uniform, office adjustments such as desk fans, altered start and finish times and access to counselling.
After leaving the fire service, I became an Occupational Health Manager in a factory setting with much less people overall and even less women, but this did not change the overall issues facing the women on site, and so I enrolled in a Menopause Champion course.
This course allowed me to understand that menopause is the end of the process, but perimenopause can happen up to 10 years prior to this and comes with hundreds of symptoms including hot flushes, insomnia, depression, anxiety, brain fog, dry hair and nails, loss of libido, memory loss, mood swings, loss of vision and hearing. The list goes on as everyone is different, and my eyes were opened to the possibility that almost every employment sector is losing valued and capable employees to perimenopause symptoms that can be managed.
Being a Menopause Champion has also enabled me to support not only women experiencing these issues, but also men who have wives, partners, mothers, sisters - I have been able to give them the confidence to go to their GP and ask for help.
Encouragement to write down symptoms, their frequency and how they make an individual feel is a vital tool to help people feel listened to in a GP consultation, as well as taking someone along and being knowledgeable about treatments available such as HRT.
I hope to be able to continue to give women the confidence to stay in work despite their symptoms and encourage managers to work with them to succeed."
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Are you an employee?
If you have any health conditions or concerns that you are worried may impact your performance at work, we would encourage you to discuss them with your employer in a transparent and open manner. They may be able to provide support or a referral to our Occupational Health services (like Physiotherapy or Counselling) to help you manage your health at work.
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