Almost three quarters (73%) of women feel unsupported whilst experiencing menopause at work, according to a new survey* by Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge signatory and music licensing company, PPL PRS.

The NHS estimates around 13 million people are currently peri or menopausal in the UK. With the government rejecting the menopause leave proposal in January, many businesses have taken up the mantle to support their employees who may be peri or menopausal. PPL PRS recently joined the more than 2,000 companies who have signed the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge, and have launched its PPL PRS’ Guide to Menopause to share knowledge about menopause symptoms, and the benefits of music in symptomatic relief.

Commissioned to understand what is being done in workplaces across the UK to help menopausal employees, PPL PRS found that over 90% of the women surveyed had experienced at least one physical or mental symptom, with the top 5 common symptoms women experience when going through menopause identified as:

• Disrupted sleep – 73%
• Hot flushes and dizziness – 70%
• Memory issues – 61%
• Muscle or joint pain – 60%
• Low mood – 59%

These symptoms can severely affect women’s performance in a working environment, with hot flushes in particular reported to reduce productivity by 60% for some individuals compared to non-menopausal people. While some of these can be symptoms that are taken seriously by employers when resulting from other health conditions, such as low mood from depression, the survey results show that understanding and support is minimal when it comes to symptoms of menopause.

PPL PRS’ survey revealed nearly a third (28%) of women surveyed said their employer did not offer anything in support, and a YouGov poll shared that almost three-quarters (72%) of companies do not have a menopause policy in place. For the 26% of women that said they felt supported by employers, the survey highlighted that this mainly consisted of flexible working and regular breaks for women suffering. Other options their employers offered include:

• Flexible working (28%)
• Regular breaks (28%)
• Time off (14%)
• Support groups (10%)
• Signed the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge (10%)
• Mental health champions (8%)
• Counselling (8%)
• More time to prepare before meetings (8%)
• And care packages (4%)

With 20% of their female workforce over the age of 45, PPL PRS recognises the importance of understanding menopause and providing support for those who need it. In signing the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge, the company wants to make their workplace an inclusive space where everyone in the office understands and knows how to offer support to those experiencing it. PPL PRS’ Guide to Menopause, backed by Neuroscientist Dr Julia Jones (aka Dr Rock) and Music Therapist Marianne Rizkallah, outlines the impact of symptoms on women and how music can support with menopause relief.

PPL PRS Neuroscientist and Smart Wellness Coach, Dr Julia Jones aka Dr Rock, provides some often-forgotten facts about breathing and music:

Because of the way the autonomic nervous system is wired, our breath acts as a powerful brake on the anxiety response. We have the ability to step in and intervene by simply breathing in time with calming, slow tempo, music. This is known to help reduce feelings of stress during the day and help direct us into deep delta wave sleep at night. Extending our exhales amplifies this effect even further. It’s a simple tactic that can be used at home, during commutes or in the workplace.

Dr Julia Jones, PPL PRS Neuroscientist and Smart Wellness Coach

Allowing female employees a space to feel comfortable in their experiences in later life should be a priority for more businesses to implement internally, especially with the lack of government support for such a large section of the UK workforce. Joining PPL PRS and 2000 other companies in pledging with Wellbeing of Women is just the start of being a more employee-focused business.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.