How can employers support the women in their workplace?

Women working

Women’s health & wellbeing needs must be a greater priority for employers.

Now is the perfect time to focus on women’s health in general and highlight why women’s health & wellbeing needs must be a greater priority for employers.

A report by the Work Foundation* has revealed that under-recognised chronic health conditions could affect women’s productivity in the workplace and damage their careers and earning potential. Conditions such as endometriosis, the menopause, mental health including post-natal depression and peri-menopausal anxiety and fertility issues are frequently unrecognised in the workplace – and there is often a stigma around talking about female health issues despite the rising number of women in the workplace.

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Our top 10 tips on supporting women in the workplace 

There are currently 15.5 million women in work in the UK, and each will have different wellbeing needs. By offering support, guidance and access to benefits and services, employers can retain female talent and help them reach their full potential.

So, how can employers support the women in their workplace and help reduce the stigma around talking about women’s health.

Here are our top 10 tips:   

  1. Remember women have a unique set of health and wellbeing requirements at different times in their lives so a one size fits all approach is unlikely to help. Why not ask your employees what would help.
  1.  Review existing policies and processes – around sickness, maternity leave, flexible working and health and safety to ensure that women’s health conditions are considered.
  1. Train and educate line managers on the conditions, signs and symptoms of various health issues that potential impact of health conditions women face. This will enable them to have supportive conversations and ensure women can raise and discuss their symptoms/concerns.
  1. Consider offering practical support such as providing sanitary products, a breastfeeding room for new mothers, fans, cold drinks and information about symptoms and treatments, perhaps using content from the employee assistance programme.
  1. There are around 4.3 million women aged 50 years and over in the UK workforce. Symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes or heart palpitations during work can create difficult working conditions for women. Consider providing access to specific mental health and wellbeing support to help manage symptoms along with the ability to work flexibly.
  1. Provide equal pay – while this may not happen overnight, where gender pay gaps have been identified, a clear action plan is required to redress the balance.
  1. Provide healthcare information covering women’s health issues and the treatments available. For example, make information about how to do a breast check available across a range of channels, such as your intranet or as posters within the ladies toilets and changing facilities.
  1. Remind women of support available – whether through benefits such as EAPs, virtual GPs and Private Medical Insurance cover or other sources, such as charities. Ensure that all employees know what benefits are available to them and importantly, how to access them when they need them
  1. Offer health assessments for employees with access to female focused health advice.
  1. Enforce a workplace culture where women’s stories are shared to allow women to feel cared for and encouraged to convey their health issues.

More often than not, women can feel that their health is a barrier to work. This is an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate, not only to their current female employees but to potential female candidates that their company cares about addressing the challenges faced by women every day and wants to work towards a more inclusive working environment which benefits all.

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Want effective ways to support your employees’ health & wellbeing? Speak to a member of our award-winning team today.

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