69% of women experiencing perimenopause or menopause say their work has been impacted, according to research conducted by MetLife UK. Almost a quarter (23%) have had to work late to make up for time off work due to their symptoms and health appointments, whilst more than one in five (22%) admitted to making mistakes or missing deadlines.
The majority, 65%, 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% able to confide in them. One in nine (11%) also claimed that their menopause had impacted their relationship with their colleagues.
Two thirds (65%) admitted to low moods and mood swings, hot flushes – including excessive sweating and night sweats – and nearly two thirds (62%) experienced difficulties sleeping. Having headaches was another common symptom, with half of women experiencing them as part of their menopause, with memory and concentration affecting 45%. These symptoms were attributed to one in six women missing out on workplace social events, or external meetings.
But there are options out there for employers to better support those experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause in – and out – the workplace. Most organisations will have some form of Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), offering resources to improve sickness absence while increasing employee satisfaction and engagement. For example, at MetLife UK, clients can access our Group Life Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – if selected, which provides emotional and practical support to tackle concerns about their own or someone else’s emotional and health wellbeing at work. With round the clock access to professional counsellors and registered nurses, employees can access the support from wherever they are.
Adrian Matthews, Head of Employee Benefits at MetLife, comments: “Women need to be able to have the freedom to discuss any issues they may be experiencing, whether that be at home or at work. The menopause can’t be left at the threshold, and it helps to have an encouraging and supportive employer to be able to navigate what can be an isolating time in women’s lives. 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 discourage feelings of awkwardness when bringing up female-sensitive conversations.
“Helping women feel heard, supported, and respected can help employers to maintain the hard-fought careers of women and see them through this chapter in their lives within the workplace.”