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Mind the menopause gap: Why all businesses should get behind the new British Standard for menopause

For too long there has been a lack of understanding around peri/menopause and its implications for the wellbeing of women. The conversation has either been severely lacking, or misplaced - portrayals would often focus on severe symptoms of menopause, perpetuating the notion that every experience is negative. It has failed to address the range of experiences across different ethnicities, genders and backgrounds. And it has fallen back on ageist stereotypes which alienate younger women who experience menopause prematurely.

Thankfully, things are changing - partly due to the tireless efforts of menopause tsar Helen Tomlinson and campaigners Mariella Frostrup and Davina McCall dragging menopause into the media spotlight.

But workplaces need to catch up too. Putting it on the back burner is not an option: women aged 40+ are now the fastest-growing workforce demographic in the UK. Around 20% of any workforce is in some stage of menopause. A recent Fawcett Society found that 1 in 10 women have quit the workplace because of the symptoms. This is all happening against a backdrop of the problem of extreme skills shortages facing the UK today.

Peri/menopause, although not medical conditions themselves, can significantly impact quality of life. Not only that, but they can collide with other considerable challenges such as caring for ageing parents, older motherhood and managing childcare and navigating personal life changes.

If there is no workplace support or flex, stressors associated with these challenges can hit businesses hard, leading to a ‘perfect storm’ of decreased job performance, absenteeism and disengagement and increased costs associated with employee turnover, recruitment, and training.

A holistic approach is therefore vital, and this is where the new British Standard BS 30416 comes in. This comprehensive new framework aims to provide all businesses with guidance on how to support employees experiencing menopause symptoms. It also not only addresses the physical and mental health needs of employees going through this life stage but also recognises that every individual’s experience is different.

But in these days of small teams and stretched budgets, how can you provide this menopause support quickly and easily? This is where adora comes in. Our digital menopause assistant has access to trusted NHS-trained women’s health doctors and gynaecologists to give personalised health advice, empowering every woman to self-manage their menopause journey. Along with an informative health hub, symptom tracker and regular live educational events with women’s health specialists, adora’s aim is to accelerate women’s access to treatments and solutions, ultimately resulting in enhanced health outcomes and fewer women absent from the workplace. And the icing on the cake? adora’s enterprise-level healthcare is available at affordable prices.

It makes good business sense to have menopause support in the workplace, and a employee benefit like adora can yield the following benefits:

  • Increased engagement and productivity: Employees who feel supported and valued are more engaged and productive, contributing positively to the workplace culture.

  • Enhanced health and wellbeing: A focus on wellbeing extends beyond the individual employee to their families, promoting a healthier work-life balance.

  • Reduced turnover costs: By providing the necessary support, businesses can retain valuable talent and expertise, saving on recruitment and training expenses.

  • Improved leadership and diversity: These standards promote awareness among managers who may lack personal experience, fostering a more inclusive leadership culture.

  • Advancement of diversity and inclusion goals: Creating a flexible and supportive work environment prevents employees from leaving due to inadequate conditions.

Midlife is a stage of life when we are still young enough to live life to its fullest. Disregarding the wellbeing of midlife women can lead to a loss of this talent, knowledge and experience. It’s easy to forget menopause is merely a life stage - and one which women come through with increased strength, resilience, increased energy and creativity. As the famous US anthropologist Margaret Mead famously wrote, "There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a postmenopausal woman.Surely it makes good business sense to harness that energy?

By Ann O'Neill, Founder Adora Menopause, February '24

View the BSI's practical guide to support employees experiencing menopause in the workplace: BSI Little book of menstruation, menstrual health and menopause


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