Menopause matters – why we’re raising awareness of this important issue

January 19, 2023
The menopause is something that all women will go through at some stage in their life, but can affect anyone in terms of its wider impact – yet there is a worrying lack of awareness around this historically taboo issue.

Recognising the importance of this phase in women’s lives, and to support the wellbeing of those within our business who will experience this, we are implementing a Menopause awareness campaign.

But what is the menopause exactly? The textbook definition of the menopause is defined as being a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period, which stop due to lower hormone levels.

However, there is a little-known period prior to the menopause where women can experience a whole host of symptoms which can adversely affect their everyday life – at work and at home- for many years.

Called the perimenopause, this is the period in which hormone levels can fluctuate significantly resulting in host of disruptive symptoms which go far beyond the hot flush, encompassing some 40 additional symptoms.

Women can spend up to a third of their lives in this phase, during which menopausal symptoms can affect more than 75% of women. Indeed, some women can leave the workforce as a result, with a recent poll revealing that 18% of women surveyed, were looking to leave their jobs because of their symptoms.

Knowing that 45% of women surveyed by the British Menopause Society felt their menopause symptoms had a negative impact on their work, and knowing it will affect people within our business, we are committed to developing awareness around this issue within our business, and to supporting our women throughout this often-tumultuous stage of their lives.

But how? We started the process in 2022 with the delivery of a management awareness course delivered by Nicola Green Consultancy – a specialist in menopause awareness for the workplace.

Tanya Horscroft, Learning & Development Manager at Vail Williams, explained.

“As an Investors in People Gold accredited company, it was important to us that we embrace this topic. Without knowledge, understanding is almost impossible. This awareness course was deployed to help build stronger relationships via compassionate understanding and expanded comprehension of the issue.”

Nicola used her own experiences to dispel the myths around the menopause, discuss some of the symptoms that managers should be aware of, as well as providing some practical tips and advice on how to support colleagues, wives or friends who might be going through it.

Commenting, Nicola said: “I am always inspired to work with organisations who understand the need to address and support menopause in their workplace, but often do not know where to start. Vail Williams created the perfect introduction to this topic by asking me to provide a manager awareness session.

“In order to retain and support employees, whose lives maybe, directly or indirectly, impacted by the varying stages of menopause; it is of paramount importance that managers have some knowledge and understanding of this topic.

Whilst no one is expecting managers to become menopause experts; the simple fact that they have attended an awareness session immediately provides greater knowledge and confidence in their role of supporting others. Employees will also feel reassured when approaching their manager for support.

Nicola Green, Nicola Green Consultancy.

As a result of the session, attendees came out armed with more awareness, knowledge and tools that they can now apply within our business, to better support our people, as partner and LLP member, Russell Miller, explains:

“The provision of property consultancy services is a people-business, and it is essential that we embrace diversity and have empathy with people at different stages of their lives and careers. In this respect, we are particularly conscious of the effects that the menopause can have on some people, and we have been keen to raise awareness and understanding of what can be a sensitive issue for employers and employees alike.

“As managers, we need to keep challenging ourselves and our responses to situations. Thanks to the session delivered by Nicola, having heard her own experiences first-hand, we feel much better equipped to support our colleagues – to listen to their experiences, signpost them to additional support, and most importantly, support them to feel comfortable talking about this important issue.”

Following on from the success of this pilot, we are working on the delivery of a range of wider menopause initiatives within the business as part of our Positive Health & Welling Strategy – from our Women’s Wellness Risk Assessment and practical support for women to support with their symptoms, including a menopause ‘first aid kit’ for each office, to the delivery of a wider awareness programme for all staff in 2023 designed to open up conversation around the issue, which will be delivered by Nicola Green Consultancy.

Concluding, Nicola said: “I am delighted to continue my working relationship with Vail Williams in 2023 to provide firm wide support and awareness.”