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Menopause in the Workplace: What Employers Should Be Doing

Lauren Katulka

Have you ever told, or thought about telling, your boss that you’re having trouble working because you're dealing with certain menopause symptoms? If you have spoken up, you're likely one of the few. The reality is that just 31% of menopausal women say they feel comfortable talking about their symptoms or experiences with their employer.1 Feelings of embarrassment and perceived weakness, or perhaps a fear of discrimination can all keep women quiet about their symptoms, but staying silent only contributes to the likelihood that menopause in the workplace will continue to be misunderstood or overlooked. This can cause you and other women going through menopause to feel isolated and can further minimize the likelihood of any real change occurring at work.

In this article, we'll take a deeper look at the potential impacts of menopause on the workplace and explore ways employers can consider supporting their employees in more meaningful ways.  

The Impact of Menopause in the Workplace

Menopausal-age women account for nearly 30% of the workforce in the United States, so the symptoms they face, and how disruptive they can be, can potentially have a big impact on workplaces.2 A 2023 study from the Mayo Clinic found that 13.4% of employed menopausal women had at least one adverse work outcome due to their symptoms, and nearly 11% had symptoms so severe that they missed work. 3

It's important to note that around 85% of women experience symptoms during the menopause transition.4 Accordingly to a recent study, 45% of women have said that their symptoms have impacted their overall job satisfaction and motivation while 48% noted they've impacted how confident they feel in their workplace. Two in five menopausal women have considered the option of finding a new job, or have found new employment due to their menopause symptoms.5

Some of the most common symptoms that can impact performance at work include:

  • Hot flashes that can disrupt meetings.6
  • Mood swings and irritability that may negatively impact overall job performance.7
  • Cognitive changes and fatigue, which can make focusing and recalling information challenging.8

It may also come as no surprise that disruptive menopausal symptoms can even sometimes discourage women from applying for promotions or even quitting their jobs.9

What Can Employers Do to Better Support Women in Menopause?

As someone with years of experience in a professional role, you have invaluable knowledge and wisdom, so it's in your employer's best interest to support you, and work with you no matter what you may be going through. With the right support, you, and other women who may be experiencing menopause symptoms, can continue to confidently be great leaders and mentors.10 Putting in place the below strategies may help employers better support their employees who may be managing menopause symptoms.

Encourage an Open Dialogue

Open communication between managers and their employees can go a long way toward reducing the stigma around menopause and helping businesses better support their staff.11 You should know that if you feel open to discussing it, you can share your symptoms with your manager or someone in human resources to better highlight how they may be impacting your performance. If comfortable, you might also suggest any workplace changes that you feel could help you better manage your symptoms and support your overall performance. Your manager should help you feel confident that sharing your experience won't jeopardize your career or chance of advancement, rather they should instill a sense of trust and understanding about what you are going through.

Allow Flexible Work Schedules to Support Productivity

Managers can relieve some of the pressures potentially affecting menopausal women by allowing for more flexible working schedules.12 This could mean being open to you working from home on days when you're experiencing more severe symptoms. It could also mean starting your day later if you have a morning appointment with a healthcare provider. Moreover, giving all employees the freedom to adjust their schedules can improve employee morale and ensure no one feels discriminated against.

Make Feasible Workplace Adjustments

Open communication with your manager also creates the opportunity to brainstorm about other adjustments that might make the workplace more inclusive and supportive for others who may be experiencing the same thing. 

These might include13,14,15:

  • Implementing an employer menopause policy outlining all provisions for women experiencing menopause symptoms.
  • Offering health insurance that covers hormone replacement therapy, symptom management options, and robust mental health coverage.
  • Introducing an employee assistance program with menopause-related expertise to provide counseling and professional support.
  • Implementing supportive, menopausal leave.
  • Introducing a menopause wellness program offering advice about nutrition, fitness, and stress management.
  • Providing menopause training for employees at all levels to help reduce the stigma and increase menopause awareness in the workplace.
  • Evaluating hiring and promoting practices to ensure women in menopause aren't discriminated against.

Menopause symptoms can make dealing with the structured routines and demands of a traditional workplace challenging, but an understanding employer can make all the difference. Companies who listen to what you need and make adjustments can help you feel better supported and empowered to achieve your best results during this transitional period.

Remembering your value can help you feel empowered to start the conversation about menopause in your workplace, knowing that any adjustments the business makes, can help to improve outcomes for you, your colleagues, and the business as a whole.



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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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