In our 26 February 2020 webinar on “Inclusivity and the menopause”, we talked about the workplace adjustments that an employer might make in order to support somebody suffering from symptoms of the menopause. One of the panellists, Karen Genuardi from AA Thornton (and also a member of the IP Ability committee), has kindly provided us with a summary, which we hope you find useful.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Nor will these measures be right for everyone. Menopause symptoms vary from person to person, and as with all workplace adjustments, these need to be discussed with the employee and tailored to their individual needs.
In considering workplace adjustments, the aim is to understand any barriers that the employee is experiencing and to put adjustments in place to resolve them as far as possible.
As women experience menopause differently there is no uniform set of adjustments and the key therefore is to involve the woman in any discussion about potential adjustments.
Adjustments may be practical/physical, and a list could include:
- Desk location or desk set up (eg in a cooler area for comfort or a quieter area for concentration)
- Provision of fans
- Relaxing of the dress code for comfort
Adjustments may be also be more of the “softer” kind, which may include:
- More frequent breaks (concentration, stress) or taking a short break outside for a few minutes
- Flexibility in how/when the job is done (think about some working from home, later starts/flexitime or simply how and when the most complex tasks are carried out)
- Flexibility may be in line with what everyone has – eg flexitime – or may be agreed as part of a risk assessment or as part of a formal flexible working arrangement
- Mentoring/coaching to support confidence (internal or perhaps external depending upon availability)
- Identifying an internal ally/mentor/peer or manager who may support with confidence and high-stress situations eg public speaking or client meetings (act as a sounding board etc)
- Flexibility in the working day to attend appointments/support eg counselling, CBT
We’d welcome further suggestions that you or your colleagues have found to help.