Menopause at work. Are you on the CUSP?
Cusp is a word laden not only with possibilities but with uncertainty. A cusp is a transition between two states and like any transition has the potential to disrupt as well as transform. Menopause is a cusp – a period that can have a disruptive effect on women’s lives and their work. The impact at work is what we care about at JW Squared. We care because almost 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in work making this the fastest growing demographic in the workforce.
So, working with employee comms and HR professionals, as well as many women in work (and sense checking with a doctor) we’ve created a simple framework to help employers consider how they respond to this growing workplace issue. This framework is called CUSP and covers Culture, Understanding, Support and Policy.
Start by asking whether you have a culture where a colleague would feel comfortable or confident having a conversation about menopause. Do your employees bring their wholes selves to work and are there any topics about their lives that they are likely to feel they can’t or don’t want to discuss? If the current culture isn’t right for this conversation to take place, what steps can you take to change it?
We can’t change what we don’t understand. Create fact-based communication and content to help build greater understanding within your organisation about the physical, metal and emotional impact of menopause and perimenopause mean and how these might impact work.
Practical, personalised support makes a huge difference to an employee’s experience at work. If you have a culture where colleagues can talk about menopause and greater awareness of the range of symptoms, then it is easier to ask for practical support and reasonable adjustments. These adjustments could range from being mindful of workplace temperature for women experiencing hot flushes to ensuring there are breaks in long meetings for women experiencing heavy flow during their period.
Culture and supportive colleagues are no guarantee that women going through menopause will be universally and equally supported. This has to be done through policy – even in small companies.
At JW Squared, we can help employers use this simple framework to ensure they have the right Culture, Understanding, Support and Policies in place and that they have two-way employee communication to underpin the change.
If you feel that your organisation is on the cusp of supporting employees going through menopause, then we’d love to help. Call Jane on 07891 475935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.