48% do not have access to features to manage pain and discomfort at work

pain and discomfortNearly half (48%) of UK office employees do not have access to the feature they identify as most useful to manage their pain and discomfort at work.

Inclusive design firm Motionspot surveyed 2,000 office workers who experience menstruation or menopause to explore the optimal workplace design for them. It found that the most common unavailable feature in respondents’ workplaces was a place to lie down (78%), followed by a hot bath and shower (66%) and a dark or dimly lit space (60%).

For those who experience menstrual symptoms, fresh air is the most common feature that would attract them to work more days in their current workplace (37%), increasing to 41% for staff experiencing peri-menopause or menopause. This is followed by comfortable desk seating (30%), natural light (28%), a private room to decompress (25%), temperature-controlled spaces (19% and 28% for peri-menopausal or menopausal employees), and more focus rooms with less distractions (19%).

In addition, 58% find their concentration at work is impacted by hormonal variations and 61% said their mood is affected. A total of 44% face fatigue, 35% feel teary, 29% deal with pain, 43% of peri-menopausal or menopausal staff suffer brain fog and 65% struggle with concentration. The latter two figures are more than the 18% and 51% of non-peri-menopausal or menopausal respondents who said the same.

Pareisse Wilson, inclusive design strategy lead at Motionspot, said: “The data shines a light on the fact that the spaces and products people need to ease their hormonal symptoms are not available in almost half of workplaces. However, the factors that would reduce pain and discomfort can be implemented in many working environments.

“We hope these insights encourage organisations to engage with their employees, and their full spectrum of intersectionalities, to create happy and healthy working environments that enable everyone to thrive. The progressive organisations that embrace inclusive design will enjoy improved productivity, performance, and staff retention, and become the top choice for workers at every age and career stage.”