By StayWell Development Manager Erin McCarthy
When it comes to workplace health education, there are some topics that make people squirm. Take menopause, for example. The symptoms of menopause — hot flashes, changes in memory and concentration, fatigue caused by sleep disturbances, and mood swings — affect nearly all women between the ages of 45 and 65. Although these symptoms can all impact a woman’s work performance, according to a national survey by Working Mother Research Institute and Pfizer, only one percent of women say their employers offer support specifically for women in menopause.
So how can employers remove the stigma of menopause, and let the women in their workforce know they’re supported? StayWell had the unique opportunity to partner with the Endocrine Society’s Hormone Health Network to produce a tool called the Menopause Map™ that does just that. The Menopause Map can help women understand and manage their symptoms, while giving employers a way to educate their workforce about these facts of later life.
I encourage you to check out this engaging, user-friendly resource for yourself and to share it, as appropriate. If you are an employer or human resources professional, consider the following ways that you can educate and support your female employees as they age:
- Talk about menopause symptoms and how to manage them. Options such as temperature control, a flexible dress code and flexible scheduling could be useful in managing symptoms. Listen to employees. Let supervisors and managers know how they can support the women on their teams.
- Encourage peer-to-peer support. Provide opportunities and encouragement for employees to share information and learn from each other. Engage your wellness champion network in the effort.
- Provide easy-to-use resources. Use online resources like the Menopause Map™ to educate employees and to break down the barriers that prevent women from talking about what they need during this stage of life. The site also includes resources for health care professionals.
If you consider the fact that by 2020, menopause symptoms will affect more than 75 percent of working women in the United States, the need for resources like the Menopause Map becomes clear. Employers who begin offering menopause education and support now will see their efforts pay off — in improved productivity for all the women in their workforce.
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