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Half of Workplaces Lack Facilities to Support Menopausal Workers

Half of Workplaces Lack Facilities to Support Menopausal Workers
24 August 2023
 

A design company has surveyed 2,000 office workers who experience menstruation or menopause to explore how workplace design can better support them.

People of menopausal age are the fastest-growing demographic of the UK workforce, and yet one in ten will consider leaving employment due to their symptoms.

 

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Of the 2,000 people that Motionspot surveyed, 48 per cent do not have access to the feature they identify as most useful to manage their pain and discomfort at work. These are a place to lie down (78 per cent), a hot bath and shower (both 66 per cent), and a dark or dimly lit space (60 per cent).

 

Hormonal Changes Not Limited to Menopause

 

The data also shows that the lack of facilities to aid the management of pain and discomfort associated with hormonal change is not limited to people experiencing menopause.

For 53 per cent of people, it is conditions associated with menstruation that have the greatest impact on their comfort at work. These include PMS (premenstrual syndrome (19 per cent), PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) (6 per cent), endometriosis and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) (both 5 per cent), pregnancy (4 per cent), miscarriage, and chest-feeding/expressing (both 3 per cent), and IVF (in vitro fertilisation) (2 per cent).

Hormonal fluctuations on both employers' and employees’ productivity, efficiency, and financial outcomes cannot be underestimated given that 61 per cent of respondents say their mood is affected at work and 58 per cent find their concentration at work is impacted by hormonal variations.

 

"Without robust policies, inclusively designed workplaces, and a strong cultural mandate, the failings will continue - women will leave the workforce and the bottom line will suffer.”

–Mariella Frostrup

Chair, Menopause Mandate

 

What are the Most Desired Workplace Features?

 

For office workers who experience menstrual symptoms, fresh air is the most common feature that would attract them to work more days in their current workplace (37 per cent), increasing to 41 per cent for people experiencing peri/menopause.

This is followed by comfortable desk seating (30 per cent), natural light (28 per cent), a private room to decompress (25 per cent), temperature-controlled spaces (19 per cent versus 28 per cent for peri/menopausal people), and more focus rooms with less distractions (19 per cent).

 

Image

Picture: a photograph of Mariella Frostrup. Image Credit: Motionspot

 

Mariella Frostrup, broadcaster, creator of BBC1’s The Truth about Menopause, Chair of Menopause Mandate, and Co-Founder of The Women In Work Summit said of the findings: "The imperative place of women in our workplaces is unquestionable but the inequity caused by our differing biology remains almost entirely unaddressed. From menstruation to fertility issues, parenthood and menopause, there is a strong correlation between women’s health and workforce participation. Employers have a crucial role to play. Without robust policies, inclusively designed workplaces, and a strong cultural mandate, the failings will continue - women will leave the workforce and the bottom line will suffer.”

For more information on inclusive design for hormonal changes, the British Standards Institute’s BS 30416 guide has been designed to help organisations identify policy guidance and practices, supportive workplace cultures, and practical workplace adjustments that support employees who menstruate and experience peri/menopause symptoms. Download here: https://bit.ly/43ccpWb

Picture: a photograph of a wet room with accessibility adaptations such as a hoist and changing table. Image Credit: Motionspot

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 24 August 2023

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