According to MetLife UK, 65 percent, who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, perimenopause or menopause, feel uncomfortable talking to their boss about it.
Also, 69 percent of women experiencing perimenopause or menopause say their work has been impacted.
Almost a quarter (23%) have had to work late to make up for time off work due to their symptoms and health appointments.
In a moment of reflection, MetLife UK’s research aims to shine a light on this sensitive topic throughout Menopause Awareness Month this past October and address the associated taboos which affects so many in workplaces today.
Perimenopause and menopause stats and facts from MetLife:
MetLife research, which explored the views of 355 women – currently working full or part-time and have gone through or are currently going through either perimenopause or menopause, found that the average age at which women say they have gone or are currently going through perimenopause or menopause is 41.
However, almost two in five (39%) are under 40.
The most common symptoms can include:
- Mood changes/low mood – 65%
- Hot flushes/excessive sweating/night sweats – 65%
- Difficulty sleeping – 62%
- Headaches – 50%
- Memory and concentration – 45%
- Joint stiffness/aches and pains – 40%
- Anxiety/panic attacks – 38%
- Frequent urination – 35%
- Hair thinning/loss – 33%
- Palpitations – 28%
Perimenopause and menopause in the workplace
The majority, 65 percent, who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, perimenopause or menopause, say they are too uncomfortable talking to their manager about how their symptoms are impacting them at work, with just 27 percent able to confide in them.
One in nine (11%) also claimed that their menopause had impacted their relationship with their colleagues.
Start the conversation
Awareness is key for employees to ensure they feel supported and employers truly understand the challenges their staff are facing.
By encouraging open conversations and training it creates a foundation for awareness. So many women will face menopause and its important for those around them to be able to recognise the impact.
Everyone’s experience of perimenopause or menopause will be different, so it is important that all female staff feel they have equal access to the guidance and advice that’s most useful to them.
To help, employers and managers should consider running internal campaigns or webinars for staff to kickstart conversations and broaden people’s awareness and understanding.
By regularly signposting support and reminding employees about their benefits and the specific menopause resources and policies in place, employers can ensure their staff are properly supported and will go some way to alleviate feelings of stress or anxiety when bringing up these sensitive conversations.
Amy Tomlinson, Head of HR at MetLife UK comments:
“The mental and physical symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause can be incredibly debilitating, not just for the individual but also for those around them. At home this can manifest itself in the form of sleepless nights, night sweats and hot flushes throughout the day, and mood swings.
“It can also lead to poor diet/lifestyle choices. And at work, on top of those symptoms, female employees may also suffer from an inability to recall as much detailed information in a short space of time, which can lead them feeling burned out or overworked if they feel they need to compensate during out-of-work hours. It truly can be a vicious circle, particularly if you haven’t got a loved one or professional to lean on.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.