Menopause in the workplace

Women from Solar Fabrications (from left to right): Laura, Karen, Kirsty, Katie, Sara and Amy

How can businesses within our industry support people experiencing menopausal symptoms? Amy Plant, head of HR for Solar Fabrications Holdings, offers advice, drawing from insights shared at the business’ menopause support group.

“Menopause is not a ‘women only’ issue,” said Amy. “While women have the physical, mental and emotional side effects, the impact is far-reaching – at home and in the workplace.”

Menopausal women are the largest growing demographic in the workforce. The symptoms affect more than 75% of women.

“As our industry is heavily male-orientated, at Solar Fabrications we’re looking at what we can do to explain the impact of menopause on the business and on employees,” added Amy. “It is still considered a relatively taboo subject, so we are trying to make it easier to talk about it, including the ways in which female colleagues might behave.

“We recently held a round table conversation with a group of female colleagues, to share experiences about menopause in the workplace.”

Here are some of the group members’ comments:

Sara: “I’ve been suffering from brain fog. It makes me look scatty, almost incompetent. Hearing women in the office talking about things so openly may help men understand how their partners are coping at home.”

Karen: “In other work places, people fear discrimination and suffer in silence. Here, everyone in the office asks if you want the air conditioning on or the door open, which I really appreciate. There are a lot of males in our business who are aware of menopause.”

Amy continued: “What else can employers do to help support someone experiencing menopausal symptoms? Here are three points from our list:

  • “Be flexible, where possible, with time off, and about start and finish times. If it’s practical, allow affected women to work from home.
  • “Allow women affected by menopause to take breaks when needed.
  • “Where appropriate, let the person have control over their working environment, for example having a desk next to a fan or open window.”

This is a shortened version of an article from Glass and Glazing Products (GGP) Magazine. To read the full version, in the November 2023 edition of GGP, click here.

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