October 19th, 2023
Why Menopause Awareness Matters
In a recent episode of the VetChat Podcast, Kathryn Bell, CEO of The Webinar Vet, explores the significance of menopause awareness and why every workplace should care. She is joined by Chris Wilson from VetsNow, who shares his insights into fostering a supportive work environment. In this blog post, we delve into the key takeaways from their conversation and how the veterinary profession can make a positive impact.
Meet Chris Wilson: A Passionate Advocate for Well-being
Before delving into the discussion, it's important to introduce Chris Wilson, the People Services Advisor at VetsNow. With a background in HR, Chris is dedicated to employee well-being and mental health. He emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of health and well-being to foster a thriving veterinary profession. Chris is a staunch supporter of diversity and inclusion, which led him to champion the cause of menopause awareness in the workplace.
Why Menopause Matters in the Veterinary Profession
One of the crucial points discussed during the podcast is the significance of addressing menopause in the workplace, particularly in female-dominated fields such as veterinary medicine. With around 88% of VetsNow's workforce being female, it's essential to understand that menopause affects women in various ways, making support and resources vital for overall well-being.
Chris Wilson highlighted two primary reasons for focusing on menopause awareness:
Empowering Women: Providing resources and information about menopause ensures that female employees have the tools and knowledge needed to manage their health effectively. This empowerment leads to happier, more engaged staff.
Reducing Stigma: Menopause can still carry a certain level of stigma in the workplace. By educating line managers and promoting open conversations about menopause, companies can eliminate this stigma and create a supportive environment for their employees.
The Impact of Menopause Support Packages
When VetsNow launched its menopause support package in 2022, the response was overwhelmingly positive. The support package included the Peppy app, which provides invaluable resources and assistance to those going through menopause. Chris reported that the response exceeded their expectations, with a 412% engagement rate, far surpassing their initial target. The app's features, like temperature regulation for those experiencing hot flushes, have significantly improved the work experience for their staff.
Improving Productivity in the Workplace
While it can be challenging to measure the direct link between menopause support and productivity, Chris Wilson points out that providing comfortable work attire, such as suitable scrubs, can significantly impact staff productivity. This small adjustment can reduce discomfort and improve the overall work experience for employees, allowing them to be more productive.
Tips for Creating a Supportive Environment
Chris provides some invaluable tips for businesses and individuals looking to create a more supportive environment for menopause awareness:
Develop Policies and Procedures: Businesses should start by creating clear policies and procedures that reflect their commitment to supporting menopause in the workplace. This demonstrates accountability to staff and helps maintain a supportive environment.
Training and Education: Implement robust training for line managers to ensure they are equipped to hold open and supportive conversations with employees going through menopause. This training reduces stigma and empowers managers to create a safe space for these discussions.
Open Conversations: Don't be afraid to have open conversations with employees about menopause. It's vital to remove any shame or stigma surrounding the topic. This allows individuals to discuss their needs and seek support comfortably.
Menopause awareness is an essential aspect of employee well-being and productivity, particularly in female-dominated professions like veterinary medicine. By creating a supportive environment, providing resources, and encouraging open conversations, companies can empower their employees and ensure a thriving and inclusive workplace.
Menopause should not be treated as a separate issue but integrated into a broader strategy for health and well-being. The veterinary profession has the opportunity to lead the way in making this vision a reality.
What steps do you think your workplace can take to create a more supportive and inclusive environment for menopause awareness?