Raising awareness in the workplace – out and about
In our last blog we asked the question “How can I start to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace”. It feels more than ever, that this is very relevant as menopause is a media hotspot right now. So, we wanted to continue with that theme and talk about exactly how we have been doing that in a number of workplaces across the country.
Conferences have kept us very busy, fitting in to company’s wellbeing agendas, and we have definitely made menopause visible. Openly discussing hot flushes, low confidence and anxiety has produced some very emotional responses as attendees start to recognise some of their own symptoms, however, mirroring those responses we have seen some excellent support and some real open and honest conversations about the impact of menopause at work.
We have seen a real take up with managers when we have discussed potential reasonable adjustments, protected characteristics and had some even livelier discussions as to whether menopause is a disability. We have even seen it being discussed as a response to the gender pay gap issue.
Listening to senior leaders talk honestly about how menopause has impacted on their lives and their families, has really underlined that it takes courage to share experiences and how important it is to lead by example, this truly demonstrates inclusive leadership.
It has not all been about conference though, we have trained a number of staff in the role of peer to peer support for menopause. So just as we have mental health first aid trained staff in workplaces we now have first aid menopause staff because we know that 48% of women suffer mental health symptoms as a result of their changing hormones. Now menopause peer to peer support is there for that first point of contact, to be an advocate for menopause and help peers when they need it most. It does not end there they are also equipped to be that intermediary when required, for example when the individual’s line manager isn’t their go to person. Exciting times. We know they will really make a difference.
Finally, we accept that a significant cultural shift is required in the workplace to make it ok to talk about menopause and to normalise it. This is why we thought it was so important to share our experiences with you over the last few weeks. We hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse into the world of Talking Menopause and once again if you need some help to start that conversation why not come and practice on us first here at Talking Menopause.