One of the fastest growing R&D tax specialists in the UK has launched its first menopause policy. The business wants to change attitudes towards menopause in the workplace and help to create a better understanding, therefore helping to alleviate potential embarrassment for those suffering from menopausal symptoms.
Access2Funding’s new policy aims to raise awareness and understanding, outline the support available and allow colleagues to openly and comfortably instigate conversations about the menopause.
Dawn Coker, Chief Operating Officer at Access2Funding, went through early menopause following a hysterectomy and uterotomy at the ages of 35 and 37, and is calling for improved employer awareness and support around this often debilitating transition, following her personal experience in the workplace. Her menopause lasted 10 years and during this time Dawn had several negative experiences in various workplaces, as well as some highlights of supportive employers, and Access2Funding is now embedding these values in the business.
The policy states that menopause will be treated as an ongoing health issue rather than as individual instances of ill health and includes an employee assistance programme, as well as modifications to the work environment such as temperature control and flexible working.
Dawn Coker said:
“After being thrown into early menopause in my 30s and experiencing daily struggles at work with management who had little understanding or thought for my symptoms, we have implemented the policy to help create an environment where women feel confident enough to raise issues about their symptoms and managers are educated on how to support people going through ‘the change’. With menopausal women being the fastest growing workforce demographic, simple workplace adjustments like desk fans, priority seating by windows and training for line managers is important – but most of all, feeling at ease talking about your menopausal symptoms can make all the difference if you’re having a particularly bad day.”
“I often felt embarrassed about my symptoms in some previous roles, and as Access2Funding is a predominantly female-led business, want to ensure that none of our employees feel this way. The menopause policy will further strengthen our inclusive culture, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
As an SME in the finance sector, Access2Funding is hoping to pave the way for other financial services SMEs to follow suit and launch their own menopause policies. The finance sector is typically male-dominated, particularly at leadership level, and the company wants to highlight the challenges that this can bring for women in the workplace entering menopause and how new policies such as this can help break down barriers and open up conversations.
Access2Funding’s menopause policy has been implemented as part of a wider organisational wellbeing project, which includes the introduction of mental health ambassadors, LGBTIQA+ champions, access to free counselling and working towards various accreditations.
Further information on Access2Funding’s menopause policy and backstory can be found at https://www.access2funding.co.uk.