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For a healthy mind, body and business

How to make work inclusive for women going through menopause

older menopause-age woman at work on laptop
Anna Shvets, Pexels

By Lauren Chiren

Flexibility in the workplace is not just a perk; it’s fundamental in supporting women going through menopause.

Menopause is a natural and inevitable phase of a woman’s life, yet the workplace often fails to acknowledge its profound impact. Physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating can significantly disrupt a woman’s professional life to the point they no longer feel they can work their jobs properly, if at all.

According to a recent BUPA study, which led to a call for a new menopause ambassador, 900,000 women have lost their jobs due to menopause in the UK, and 3 in 5 are negatively affected at work. Menopause is a predictable stage in every woman’s life – it simply isn’t good enough.

Getting the right help and support

I became a part of these worrying statistics when I started suffering from loss of confidence and self esteem, I thought it was early onset dementia. There was one evening where I returned home from work, greeted my son and nanny, then picked my bag up to leave again – I had forgotten I had finished work for the day. I was becoming unfocused at work, and struggled to speak in meetings. My self esteem plummeted and my anxiety increased. 

After three trips to the doctors, I was finally diagnosed with early menopause. 

Instead of returning to the corporate office, I decided I wanted to drive change in the world of menopause awareness and not let anyone else lose their self belief, or think that they can’t carry on just because they don’t know how to get the right help and support they deserve, so I retrained as a menopause coach and trainer, and established Women of a Certain Stage.

Flexible working: A key solution for women going through menopause


There are plenty of ways in which an employer can help staff feel heard and valued as part of the team whilst they navigate menopause and a key example of this is flexible working.

Flexible working arrangements offer a lifeline for menopausal women aiming to navigate their professional lives seamlessly. 

By embracing flexible schedules, remote work options, or reduced hours, companies can create an environment that accommodates the unique challenges faced by menopausal women. This not only helps in retaining valuable talent but also promotes an inclusive workplace culture.

The key reasons why flexible working works!

Reduces stress: Menopausal symptoms often lead to increased stress levels. Flexible working arrangements allow women to manage their work in a way that aligns with their physical and emotional well-being, reducing overall stress.

Enhances productivity: When employees feel supported, they are more likely to be productive. Flexibility enables women to structure their work in a manner that suits their energy levels, leading to increased efficiency.

Talent retention: A workplace that accommodates menopausal women is more likely to retain experienced and skilled employees. This can save companies the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.

Improved morale: Knowing that an employer recognises and supports them during menopause can significantly boost the morale of female employees. This positive work environment contributes to a happier and more engaged workforce.

Implementing change
To make a workplace truly menopause-friendly, it’s crucial for companies to implement policies that support flexible working. This involves open communication between employers and employees, breaking down stigmas associated with menopause, and providing resources for both education and support.

Flexibility in the workplace is not just a perk; it’s a lifeline for menopausal women and ensures their continued success in their careers; it’s time for businesses to recognise the importance of flexible working options and take the necessary steps to create environments where every employee can thrive. 

By prioritising the well-being of menopausal women, companies can not only retain valuable talent but also contribute to building a more compassionate and inclusive work culture.

About the author

Lauren Chiren, is a menopause trainer, keynote speaker and founder of Women of a Certain Stage.

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2 Comments

  1. Judith W
    Author
    March 8, 2024 / 3:35 pm

    You said it yourself… menopause is a predictable stage in a woman’s life.
    Why then should it be turned into the next BIG THING?

    I fear the recent, and growing trend, fuelled by celebrities in particular which generates more column inches, is turning a natural condition into an illness that requires medical intervention and deserves special attention in the workplace, with all the knock-on effects that creates.
    Granted, some women suffer more than others (as with any kind of situation) and may benefit from external support, but I am willing to bet the majority of us just get on with our lives and feel this narrative is unnecessary and frankly, a bit of a bore.

    • Louise Goss
      March 11, 2024 / 10:09 am

      Really appreciate the comment and viewpoint Judith. I expect this is the case for many women. Sadly, there are also many women struggling and their employers are not providing adequate support so they do feel the need to have this talked about. If you are lucky to be able to get on with work and life normally, this is wonderful. I suppose, as with many issues that affect women, or under represented and minority groups, these things need to become pushed frequently in order to redress the balance so that they are no longer a ‘thing’. You will see from Lauren’s story that she is one of many women who would have benefitted from more awareness and flexibility.

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