Kelly Blackburn: What benefits do you offer to support employees through the menopause?

Phoebus Software (PSL) is a company that takes the menopause very seriously.

We introduced a specific menopause wellness policy at the start of this year, but we wanted to make sure that it was a lot more than a few pages of fine text and there is a whole series of concrete actions behind the policy.

Thirty percent of colleagues at PSL are female, which is high within the financial technology sector. We wanted to make sure that we cater for this important part of our workforce, but also recognise it is not just women who suffer from the menopause but men, transgender and non-binary people too, albeit in different ways.

We are committed to raising awareness of how the menopause affects a whole raft of different people and fostering an inclusive and supportive working environment for all colleagues.

The measures we have brought in include a comprehensive wealth of information, aimed at helping not just those experiencing the menopause first hand, but also those who may have partners suffering with menopause as well as their colleagues and managers; free training courses with menopause experts for everyone in the company of all ages and genders; and actively challenging negative thoughts and expectations about the menopause by encouraging open conversations, making it easier for people to talk to managers and colleagues.

We recognise some women in the past have found this challenging especially if their manager is younger and/or male and we want to break down these barriers and foster understanding.

We also offer flexibility of working hours and arrangements. This includes access to rest facilities in the office and more frequent rest breaks if required; improvements in workplace temperature and ventilation including providing electric fans; and provide access to occupational health including full counselling services and emotional support through our comprehensive employee assistance programme (EAP).

Where needed, we also refer colleagues to an independent occupational health adviser. This includes providing support for both physical and mental health as well as access to menopause experts.

We are really putting a focus on the symptoms someone may experience when going through both menopause and perimenopause.

We want to empower our staff to be able to talk about the menopause. We are raising awareness of the symptoms and how to recognise the effects at the same time as breaking down traditional stereotypical attitudes

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While menopause needs to be taken seriously and raising awareness of it across organisations and the media can only be a positive thing, we are dedicated to making sure that everyone is supported if they suffer with any health issues at all and our menopause policy is part of this.

Kelly Blackburn is HR business partner at Phoebus Software