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Blog: Menopause in the Workplace – A personal perspective from an HR professional

At our recent Employment Law Update event, I led a slot on ‘menopause in the workplace’. I have been developing a keen interest in this over the last year and I wanted to share some good practice ideas. I also feel compelled to continue to write about menopause after seeing some rather scary (but not altogether surprising) outcomes from a recent study.  Forth with Life studied 1,000 female professionals over the age of 45 and found:

Following our event, I was contacted by an HR professional who wrote to me with her own experience of menopause in the workplace. As it is such a useful article, she has kindly agreed for me to circulate this more widely.  I found it extremely useful and I hope you do too.

Here it is.

Anne-Marie Boyle
Email Anne-Marie or call 0117 325 0924

“A personal view of menopause in the workplace” by an HR professional

My own experience of the menopause has not been the best.  I’ve had hot flushes throughout the day and night for the past 12 years (sometimes as frequently as every 45 minutes); I’ve suffered from poor concentration, memory issues (both recall and retention); and as a result of the flushes, I’ve experienced frequently disturbed sleep.  I went from someone who prided herself on having a really good memory, to doing a favourable impression of Dory from the film Finding Dory!

However, compared to some people, I’ve not been too badly hit.  I know from speaking with friends that some have had to get up in the night to change their bedding because of how much they have perspired. I’m also aware that the menopause can contribute to mood swings but I haven’t experienced that either, fortunately.

During this time, I’ve also been working, sometimes as a freelance HR consultant, and at others as an HR Interim.  It’s probably fair to say that in at least 75% of meetings that I’ve had to attend, I have had one or more hot flushes during this time.  Some have felt almost self-fulfilling – the more I’ve worried about not having a flush, the more likely it has happened (it’s not commonly known that anxiety can contribute to flushes too).

Menopause symptoms can differ from woman to woman and so, whilst some people prefer to keep their symptoms as private as possible, others like me have brought the issue out in to the open, mainly because I felt that, as some of my symptoms were so visible, I had less choice to disguise it.

So the way I dealt with it was by:

However, I was senior enough and confident enough to be this open.  I don’t know if I would have felt the same if I had been performing a more junior role or felt I couldn’t speak up.

Here’s what I think would have helped me and other women in the workplace:

I really hope you’ve found these hints and tips as useful as I did and thank you to my HR contact for sharing them.  You can read by 2 previous menopause blogs here and here.

I am currently in the process of creating menopause policies and documentation for some of our clients as well as reviewing Equal Opportunities training to include the menopause for others.  If I can help your business on menopause (or any other employment law issues) please do get in touch on 0117 325 0924 or



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