Menopause in the workplace

In the UK, there are a growing number of women over the age of 45 who are remaining in full-time employment. This is due to a number of factors which include the fact that people are living longer, and the rising cost of living. 

However many women over the age of 45 will normally find themselves going through menopause at some point within the next 10 years. Even though this is such a common experience for so many women, for many workplaces it’s still a ‘taboo’ subject. This can often lead to misunderstandings, and people feeling uncomfortable around the subject of menopause. 

This includes women who are embarrassed to talk about their circumstances and employers who are unsure of how to approach the subject with employees. But this isn’t just the case for males, but also females can struggle with being open about menopause. 


What is ‘Menopause’? 


Menopause is a stage in a female’s life when they go through a biological change, and it normally begins between the ages of 45 and 55. During this time they will stop having periods and are no longer able to get pregnant naturally. These changes are due to the reduced amount of estrogen in a female’s body. 


What are the symptoms of Menopause? 


Symptoms that a female experiences during menopause will differ from person to person. Both what symptoms they experience, and how intense these are. 

Symptoms can last for 3 or 4 years, or even longer. They can all begin in close succession, or symptoms can be staggered. But after this period, a female is classed as having gone ‘through menopause’. 


Menopause symptoms can include but are not exclusive to: 


  • Hot flushes 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Night sweats 
  • Chills 
  • Weight gain 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Change in memory and concentration
  • Low mood


How does menopause affect people at work? 


Because females’ experiences differ so vastly in terms of symptoms, severity, and timings, it can be very difficult for menopausal women in the workplace. Unpredictability makes it hard for a ‘one shoe fits all’ approach. Managers and employers should research the subject, and get to know what it can be like for women going through menopause. 


Example scenarios for women going through menopause in the workplace: 


‘A female has a hot flush during an important meeting with management. They become very self-conscious, and uncomfortable.’ 


‘A female has always made deadlines for reports. However, this month, they have struggled to concentrate and have completely forgotten about this report.’


‘A female has been working extremely hard over the past few years and is in line for a promotion. However, in their latest appraisal, they seem to have lost a lot of self-confidence and doubt their abilities.’ 


Because of menopausal symptoms, females in the workplace could begin to think less of themselves, as their symptoms are impacting their work. However, it is very unusual that these feelings are shared by the employer. Rather, the employer wants to know the root cause of the latest changes, and how they can help. 


How employers can support people going through menopause at work 


Employers should consider the health, well-being, and welfare of their employees as a priority. This includes females who are going through menopause. This could include recognising that individuals may require additional support in order to come to work and feel comfortable, and complete their roles. 

By creating a workplace that accommodates females who are going through menopause, you are more likely to retain talent, which would have otherwise left. 

Allowing for open and honest communication between females at work to discuss menopausal symptoms could help. This could bring up common issues or symptoms, and if resolved, many people could feel more comfortable and accommodated. Managers and employers could think about what measures they could implement to support people going through menopause in the workplace, which could include: 


  • Flexible working times 
  • Understanding when there are changes in performance and attendance 
  • Flexible sickness absence 
  • Flexibility in work uniforms 
  • Access to washrooms and private spaces 
  • Consulting occupational health specialists, who can advise on reasonable adjustments in the workplace for females who are going through the menopause


Contact us 


If you’d like more information on how Acorn OH could support your business’s employees who are going through menopause, please get in touch. Visit our FAQs page, call us at 01260 277797, or email us at

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.