A recent Motionspot survey of 2,000 workers has highlighted the most helpful adjustments which employers can make for workers experiencing symptoms of menstruation and menopause at work. With a large proportion of the UK workforce likely to experience menstruation or menopause symptoms at work, this survey recognises that around half of workplaces do not currently have adjustments or features to manage these symptoms and helpfully indicates the adjustments that can be made by employers.
More than half of the individuals surveyed stated they experienced workplace difficulties connected to menstruation, which most commonly involves mood fluctuations, reduced concentration and motivation, fatigue and pain. An overwhelming 61% of the survey participants confirmed that their mood is affected at work and 58% find their concentration at work is impacted by hormonal variations. Just under half (48%) of respondents stated that the most useful methods for managing these symptoms include a place to lie down or to take a hot bath/shower, and a dark or dimly lit space, which are all typically unavailable in the workplace.
The amount of time which workers are negatively impacted by hormonal changes at work was found to be an average of eight consecutive days every month for respondents experiencing menstrual symptoms. This increases to more than nine days for those experiencing the peri-menopause, with 42% of these participants being affected for between eight and 31 days per month.
Most helpful adjustments
The survey found that, in addition to the methods highlighted above, the most popular workplace adjustments that would attract employees to work more days in the office include:
- fresh air;
- comfortable desk seating;
- natural light;
- a private room to decompress;
- temperature-controlled spaces; and
- more focus rooms with less distractions.
Survey participants also specifically mentioned that screens between desks for privacy for hot flushes and spaces to lie down or massage their stomach when they encounter pain would be helpful when suffering from menopause or menstruation symptoms.
By taking steps to implement workplace adjustments for employees experiencing menopause and menstrual symptoms, employers can promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Providing adjustments ensures those experiencing symptoms are treated fairly and can help to alleviate these symptoms and maintain productivity levels.
We also discussed in a recent blog the new British Standards Institution (BSI) workplace standards on menstrual health and menopause here, along with the adjustments which the BSI encourages employers to implement to benefit employees experiencing symptoms of menopause or menstruation. The BSI publication and the Motionspot survey results emphasise the necessity for adjusted working practices and workplaces to help workers experiencing menopause or menstruation at work.
If you have any questions on reasonable adjustments which can be implemented in your organisation, please contact a member of the Employment team who would be delighted to assist.