Did you know that 25% of women with perimenopause or menopause symptoms consider giving up work? And that 1/3 of working women aged 40-55 have said they hide menopause symptoms at work.
Menopause is an interesting but challenging topic, because it will affect every woman in some way or another, yet little is done strategically to address it or support it; within the organisational ecosystem. Culturally and historically, it is a topic not even discussed on a personal level, let alone professionally.
However right now, there are many global organisations starting to understand and to make commitments to support women during this stage in their lives.
As part of our Dare to Discuss series, this month’s webinar, “Demystifying Menopause in the Workplace”, featured Bernadette Thomas – Wellbeing and HR Expert from The Wellbeing Games, Dr Sonia Davison - endocrinologist at the Jean Hailes Medical Centre and President of the Australasian Menopause Society (AMS), Florence Mauwa - HR Executive at Telstra Corporation and Margaret Haarhoff - Principal Consultant and Strategic Advisor at Make it Happen. The objective of the panel discussion was to discuss and share their knowledge and experience on how menopause impacts women in the workplace and what organisations can do to support women going through menopause and perimenopause.
Dr Sonia Davison explained a woman’s hormonal journey at key times in their life providing key medical insights as to what is happening and why.
Bernadette Thomas showed why the impacts of these symptoms are significant not only for woman but for businesses. Bernadette works closely with companies to create a Menopause Strategy where outcomes are often very closely aligned to many other health and wellbeing strategies which drive attraction, retention, and engagement. She explained that “Most forward thinking and flexible organisations will already be supporting mid-life working women but more times than not they have no idea even where to start.”
In the sleep deprived, stressed and busy world we live in already, our body and mind is already under pressure. Margaret talks about what we can do on a day to day basis to make better informed choices about your lifestyle that serve you now. The exercise and food choices you made 5 years ago or even last year may no longer be right for your hormonal state. Organisations do have a role to play in helping employees making better choices about food, sleep and exercise. So whether it’s re-introducing the fruit delivery for the office kitchen, or understanding and promoting the need to take a break and move/exercise during the course of the day, there are simple things we can do…
Telstra are very focused on empowering colleagues to make decisions for what they need to do for their specific situation by providing a culture and framework where you can make decisions for your individual life circumstance. Florence advised that Telstra have always embraced flexible working and they have not mandated an office return. Where their policies really support women going through menopause or perimenopause is the ability to ‘dial your days or hours up and down’ to suit your current situation. This means if you wanted to worked compressed hours for 6 months you can, or work part-time for a period. They also cater for Career Breaks so you have the space and ability to step away for a period of time without having to leave the organisation.
The full webinar covered:
• Definition of menopause and perimenopause - it’s not just an issue that affects women
• Exploration of the 34 recognised symptoms and how these impact women at home and work
• The hidden cost to an organization / business
• Discussion on what organisations can do to promote and retain more women within this demographic in the workforce and how this benefits business
Our aim for the webinar was to provide important facts on what is happening to women going through this time of their life and to help organisations identify ways to support and retain their key talent.
We invite you to watch the recording of the webinar