How to support staff through menopause, as new Government guidance issued

Published 23rd Feb 2024 by Eve Oxberry

New guidance on menopause in the workplace was issued this week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), setting out employers' legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

The guidance has been issued on the back of research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which found that two thirds (67%) of working women between the ages of 40 and 60 with experience of menopausal symptoms said they have had a mostly negative impact on them at work.

Among those negatively affected, 79% said they were less able to concentrate, 68% experienced more stress, 
49% felt less patient with clients and colleagues, and 46% felt less physically able to carry out work tasks.

We spoke to menopause coach Jazz Sidhu about how beauty salons and spas can support their teams through menopause...

What are the symptoms of menopause?

"Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, anxiety, depression, changes to hair and skin, and vaginal atrophy. 

"If you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, try to make lifestyle changes by having a healthy diet and making time to exercise. 

"At the salon, ensure ventilation and temperatures are suitable in your treatment rooms. Take regular breaks and keep hydrated. If feeling tired or fatigued, make time to try and rest between appointments. 

"Allow plenty of time to set up the treatment rooms and consider making a check list of products needed for treatments for the day. This is especially helpful if suffering from forgetfulness or hot flashes, as rushing around could make you feel flustered and feel hotter. 

"You may want to change uniforms to materials that are breathable as well as comfortable. Seek professional advice if you’re considering HRT to manage your symptoms."

How can I support staff going through menopause?

"The Equality Act 2010 covers menopause under the heading of Age, Sex and Disability. It’s a sensitive and personal matter that should be dealt with carefully. 

"As an employer, you should monitor the temperature and ventilation in the workplace. Check the uniform material is suitable for someone experiencing itchy skin or hot flushes. Introduce flexible working for colleagues who are suffering from insomnia or fatigue – possibly offering them a later start or earlier finish. 

"Ensure there is sufficient time for a short break between appointments and a suitable resting area. Develop a menopause policy and train all staff on how to have these conversations confidentially. It’s important that you create an inclusive and supportive working environment. 

"Consider introducing mindfulness sessions at the start of the day during team briefings, encouraging positive affirmations, and doing simple strengthening exercises to support hands, wrists and ankles. 

"Adapting treatments may be required as part of reasonable adjustments for some therapists. If a 60-minute massage is too taxing, consider giving them two 30-minute ones with a short break between.

"Alternatively, where possible, allow a variation of treatments which could offer some respite. A stool could be made available to therapists to perform some treatments seated. Employers could also stock herbal teas and healthy snacks such as protein balls. 

"Encourage both employees and clients going through menopause to take up balancing exercises such as Pilates or yoga, as well as weight-bearing training to support bone strength. They should also think about their pelvic health and ways to manage stress."

How does menopause affect the skin?

"During peri/menopause skin is likely to change due to depleting hormone levels. Fine lines and wrinkles start to appear and some people experience puffiness. Encourage clients to take collagen supplements to support skin, hair, nails and bones. Collagen is usually derived from animal or fish products but vegan collagen is also available. 

"Clients may need to adapt their skincare if experiencing drier skin, breakouts, age spots, hyperpigmentation, or sensitivity or redness. Encourage hydrating, nourishing products to support collagen production. I use Oskia skincare in my treatments as it optimises cellular regeneration with bio-available nutrients and scientifically proven actives. 

"Recommend products that will brighten the skin, protect the acid mantle and increase elasticity. A good night-time regime would be extremely beneficial because we know skin repairs itself while we’re sleeping."

How can I make my business menoopause friendly?

"It’s worth including peri/menopausal questions in consultation forms ensuring an in-depth consultation before the treatment to understand your client’s concerns and preferences. 

"The treatment room should be well ventilated. Ask your client if the room temperature is okay for them. If you’re using heated blankets, make sure you check the temperature with your client, turning it down or off if needed. 

"Consider introducing an opening ritual to your treatment protocols to activate the parasympathetic nerves – head massage or stroking movements to the face will aid relaxation. 

"Tools such as ice globes or cold stones in facials maybe helpful with cooling down. You could also use a jelly mask that has cooling effects tailored to the skin type.

"If you’re using hot towels, ensure they are at the right temperature for your clients, as discussed in the consultation. 

"You may also want to include lymphatic drainage techniques to reduce puffiness or bloating, adapting the treatment to avoid any sensitive areas. I would think about introducing aromatherapy oils to treatments to help alleviate symptoms. 

"Ensure water is available for clients to keep them hydrated and offer a range of herbal teas with options of these beverages being served hot or cold."

Jazz Sidhu is a beauty therapist and licensed menopause coach. She runs workshops and also delivers training for other therapists, with a “menopause approved” certificate. 

Eve Oxberry

Eve Oxberry

Published 23rd Feb 2024

Eve Oxberry is head of editorial for Professional Beauty and Aesthetic Medicine magazines and editor on PB. She oversees the company's print, web and social media content and writes reviews, news, features and more.

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