Workplace conditions could reduce menopause symptoms

by L&D27 Oct 2016
An Australian study has found that a comfortable workplace and a supportive boss can make a difference to the happiness and productivity of women experiencing the symptoms of menopause.
According to the study published in the journal Menopause, menopausal women experiencing symptoms such as hot flushes and sleeping problems benefit from factors such as well-trained managers and temperature control.
Lead author of the research Emily Bariola, of La Trobe University in Melbourne, told Reuters,  “Women in midlife and older adulthood now constitute a large proportion of the workforce and many women transition through menopause while they are in paid employment.
“Despite this, very little research has considered whether workplace and organisational factors can affect menopausal symptom experience for women.”
The study surveyed 500 women in Australia in their 40s and older between 2013 and 2014. The women, more than two-thirds of whom worked full-time, were asked questions about their work environment and conditions. Most women reported flexible working hours but less than a third reported having control over the temperature in their work environment.
Most significantly, women who had more supportive supervisors and women who were employed full-time reported significantly fewer menopause symptoms than women without these work conditions.
Another major factor was temperature control. In general, women who could adjust the temperature of the workplace had fewer symptoms than those without temperature control. The study also found that job autonomy and scope for flexible hours did not have an effect on menopause symptoms.
Bariola noted the importance of training managers in order to ensure supervisor support for women with symptoms, and to start conversations on the subject.
“Practical measures such as the capacity to adjust air conditioner temperature controls or request the installation of desk fans may also ease women’s experience of menopausal symptoms,” she said.
“Organisational policies and culture have a positive and important role to play in ensuring women feel supported by their organisations during menopausal transition.”