Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for people in later life, has launched initiatives to support staff experiencing perimenopause and menopause.
Resources include a ‘Let’s talk menopause’ group, a colleague advice line, a health risk assessment tool, and in-depth guidance to support colleagues and managers to understand what adjustments can be made at work. Anchor has recently been accredited as a Menopause Friendly Employer.
Up to 80 per cent of women of menopausal age are currently in employment in the UK, yet one in ten women have left their job due to menopause symptoms.
Sarah Jones, Anchor chief executive, said: “Menopause directly or indirectly affects lots of people and it is a basic fact of life. By making discussions about menopause in the workplace as normal as talking about any other health condition, we can make it easier for people to get the support they need to start or stay in a career, bring their whole self to work and avoid any adverse effects on their mental or physical health.”
Ruth Bishop, 47, care quality advisor at Anchor, was supported by her line manager when experiencing perimenopause. She said: “My line manager used Anchor’s menopause resources and they were a fantastic prompt for discussion. While this isn’t something my line manager had direct experience in or had supported someone in before, he was really open to having discussions, listened, and even did his own research.
“Understanding that people have different experiences of menopause, and therefore need different support, is key. I needed that understanding. Our workplace group ‘Let’s talk menopause’ supports frank conversations and has allowed colleagues to share their own experiences and get support.”
Nicky Ellison, 56, extra care business partner at Anchor, was supported at work through menopause symptoms. She said: “For me, I needed the safe space to be able to recognise my symptoms, how they may be affecting my working day and what practical steps I could take to minimise any impact. To have that space to acknowledge them without fear of it being a performance management issue was liberating and a huge relief.
“It’s about breaking the silence. My mother’s generation weren’t working when they were going through menopause so it’s a different set of pressures now. One of my colleagues even helped me find the confidence to speak to my doctor about one of my symptoms. They told me ‘you don’t have to live like this’ and it has made a massive difference.”
Teagan Robinson, equality, diversity and inclusion manager at Anchor, added: “Menopause is a personal journey for each individual, and taking the first step to seek support is often the most difficult. So, we’ve developed a series of guides and places for safe conversations. Being an inclusive workplace has many benefits; it improves performance, keeps the brilliant people we have already, and attracts new colleagues.”