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18 October 2023

At Reed, we value inclusion and belonging.

We wanted to show our support and commitment to our co-members by launching the “Menopause matters” microsite hosted on our Learning Management system, LMS365. This microsite contains resources that can help to support co-members who want to learn more about the Menopause.

We recognise that the menopause can bring challenges and difficulties for some people, some of the most known being changes to your periods, anxiety, depression, and reduced concentration. Less well-known symptoms can include joint pain, muscle aches and heart palpitations. These symptoms can affect their work performance, productivity, and satisfaction so it’s important we can support our teams through these changes.

We have implemented some initiatives to make Reed more menopause-aware and supportive.

Here are some of the things we did in September 2023:

  • We signed up for the Inclusive Employers Standard Bronze Accreditation, a scheme that recognises organisations that demonstrate good practise in equality, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Launched a Menopause at work policy which outlines the support available to co-members experiencing menopausal symptoms, as well as raising awareness and understanding of how it can impact them in the workplace.

  • Joined the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge, a campaign that aims to improve the working lives of women experiencing the menopause.

  • Hosted a Menopause Café to our co-members, a safe space where people can share their experiences and feelings about the menopause. The Menopause café is a conversation starter that helps to break the silence and stigma around the menopause.

Senior Sponsor for our Gender working group and Divisional Director for Health & Care Helen Clark, shared with us why menopause awareness is so important to her.

Helen started experiencing the negative effects of menopause in early 2023 and was affected by the psychological symptoms.

It hit me like a freight train really suddenly. I became so unlike myself it was scary.

Helen Clark

Health & Care Divisional Director

“I went from feeling confident, level-headed and a strong leader to suddenly experiencing severe anxiety for the first time. As well as battling this, I had demoralising physical issues, including elevated temperature and an erratic cycle. I was sinking into a big dark hole, but I was comfortable there so getting myself the support to get out of it was tough.”

Helen was well-educated on the effects of menopause and spoke to her support network quickly, who advised her to get in touch for medical support.

I’m lucky that I had a good support network and a workplace that was a safe environment where menopause is discussed.

“I could be at my lowest in front of my manager, and he would listen to me and support me. An open and honest relationship is so important to help people struggling with menopause open up about their symptoms and support them to get help.”

What’s next?

“I feel like I have to make a difference. We have to start talking about menopause and educate people. Businesses need to have a culture where people can spot if someone else is okay and check in with them. Reed has supported me to take on a qualification to help me support other people going through the same thing, and I’ve started working with our inclusion and belonging team because it’s now my mission to help others with this.”

We also spoke to our UK Volume Talent Acquisition Centre Talent Delivery Team Manager, Phoebe Austin to hear another perspective from one of the Ambassadors for the Gender working group in RSR and discover why she thinks menopause awareness matters.

As someone who’s not currently going through menopause, why does menopause awareness matter to you?

“During school I was never taught about menopause or the impact it would have on my life and my body, only that it was inevitable. With the support of Reed, being aware of menopause during my twenties will help me prepare for this natural event when I reach that milestone in my life. It’s also extremely important to me as I currently manage a multi-generational team and I want to be prepared as a manager to support anyone who experiences perimenopause or menopause.”

What are the advantages of from being informed about menopause so early on?

“I think it takes away the fear of the unknown. Without easy access to advice links via the microsite and reading Reed’s menopause at work policy, I would have been unlikely to seek out this information until later in my life, potentially when I started with symptoms! Menopause has always been a taboo subject and I feel Reed are ensuring education and support will allow for menopause to become an approachable subject.”

What’s next?

“I am excited to see the uptake on our Menopause Café. This is a safe and confidential environment to share your stories, seek advice, or just listen with a cuppa. We are hoping with enough popularity we can increase the frequency of the events.”

We are proud of what we have achieved in September 2023, and this is only the beginning. We want to continue our efforts to create a culture of openness and respect for co-members health and wellbeing throughout the year!