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07 Nov 2019
Managing maturity at work
The over-50s are the fastest growing part of the UK workforce, according the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Looking back on World Menopause Day last month (18th October), we thought it would be a good time to ask what businesses can do to support their older employees.
And, if you’re in this age group yourself and run a business, it’s important to make sure you look after yourself too.
Abu in the room
When Aladdin’s trusty monkey friend, Abu, is turned into an elephant, it can’t be ignored. However, in many cases the menopause is an elephant in the room that everyone pretends isn’t there.
The menopause is natural, so why are we so reluctant to talk about it? Well, it might have something to do with the wide range of pretty unpleasant symptoms.
The most commonly mentioned symptoms are hot flushes which can even start in our 30s, although more usually it’s during our 40s. Flashes, flushes and downright infernos can affect the quality of life for up to a quarter of women. Rapidly changing sensations of heat and then cold can be particularly hard to deal with at work, causing discomfort, tiredness and embarrassment. Add disturbed sleep, anxiety and headaches and life can become difficult at times.
In different circumstances these could all be the symptoms of a nasty viral infection. No one would expect you to bravely carry on at work, but we’re unwilling to complain, and colleagues are reluctant to comment.
A team at King’s College London is tackling issues that can affect women at work who are experiencing the menopause. The study is looking at ways to use cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) to help.
The team is also developing ways to help employers and managers increase their awareness and understanding of the menopause. Ideally, we will all be able to offer better support for women at work in a helpful way and make adjustments if needed.
Allowing staff members to adjust heating near to their own desk or workstation and providing small fans for personal use could be helpful.
Encouraging older members of staff – both men and women – to go for regular checks and screenings and to ask for medical advice for longer-term symptoms is important.
If employees occasionally need to take a day off at short notice, we can all try to accommodate them.
As an employer, you can provide opportunities to discuss and improve both physical and mental health at work to show all your employees that they are important to you and your business.
Look after yourself
You might be reluctant to take time out of your own business if you’re experiencing the menopause or other age-related symptoms. If you need to, take a break. The team can manage without you for a day or two while you regain some of your magical energy.
Wave the magic wand
Why not hold an event away from the office for some health-based team building? A Genie can fly in on a magic carpet to handle your calls and keep your customers delighted.
If you or a key member of your team needs to take a few days off when symptoms are challenging your Genie Godmother can cover it with a ‘bibbidi-bobbidi-boo’.
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