Agency Wellbeing Census: over 80% of agencies have no menopause policy
The Drum’s Agency Wellbeing Census has revealed that while many agencies have improved their mental health policies, support for other health issues that affect women – such as menopause – is lagging behind.
The Drum released the findings of the Agency Wellbeing Census this week / The Drum
A few years ago, it seemed as though the world might finally be waking up to the impact of menopause on women’s lives.
Davina McCall’s documentary Sex, Myths and the Menopause on Channel 4 helped propel the issue into public consciousness, and adland responded with a slew of pledges and promises on how it was going to improve working conditions for women going through the change.
But according to The Drum’s Agency Wellbeing Census, which surveyed over 200 companies in the UK, over 80% of agencies still have no official policy to support workers going through menopause.
“There has rightly been a lot of awareness raised about menopause over the past year but it’s clear from this sample that we’re yet to see that translate into workplace policies and specific menopause policies,” says Lorraine Jennings-Creed, director of wellbeing services and culture change at industry support network Nabs.
“We believe that having a menopause policy is an important aspect of creating an inclusive workplace, especially as over half of the population will experience going through the menopause,” she adds.
What can agencies do?
Various policies, such as Dark Horses’s open source plan, offer insights and tips on how to help people with menopause symptoms ease their discomfort in the workplace.
“At Nabs, we offer a menopause policy that, for example, allows those going through menopause the ability to start work late after sleepless nights, and access to a desk fan to help regulate body temperature. These seemingly small offerings can actually make a huge difference to so many people, allowing them to continue their work and stay in the workplace while going through these major bodily changes,” says Jennings-Creed.
The impact on mental health
Failure to implement support policies such as these can have an adverse effect on workers’ mental health – although, encouragingly, the census also indicates that more agencies have policies in place to support mental health than not.
88.56% offer staff days off at short notice to support their mental health, and the majority (79.29%) give it as paid leave.
“It is encouraging that so many companies offer days off at short notice to support staff mental health, and mostly as paid leave. It implies some flexibility and a level of trust. Our hope here is that every organization in our industry can find the capacity to do this alongside further mental health support, as short-notice paid days off are only one small piece of the pie,” says Jennings-Creed.
However, concerns are growing around the state of poor mental health across adland. Last quarter, Nabs reported a 15% rise in calls to its support hotline, revealing a worrying upward trend. Mental health concerns now account for a quarter of all calls, with therapy referrals up by 50% year-on-year, according to the charity.
“We have to work together to help those experiencing mental health challenges, and this includes giving staff the time and space to seek out and receive support,” Jennings-Creed concludes.
Explore more of the findings from our Agency Wellbeing Census here.