The Hidden Cost of Menopause on Businesses
Anya Roy
Anya Roy

Menopause is a natural phase of life that every woman will experience, yet the lack of support for those going through this transition comes at a steep cost for businesses. Syrona Health's groundbreaking research has uncovered that the true financial impact of menopause on the UK economy may be far greater than previously estimated.

According to the UK Parliament's 'Menopause and the workplace' report, menopause-related absences account for 14 million lost working days annually, resulting in a productivity loss of £1.88 billion. However, Syrona Health's findings suggest that this figure may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Before delving into the research, let's revisit the three key stages of menopause:

1. Perimenopause: The transitional phase leading up to menopause, often characterized by physical and emotional symptoms, typically starting in a woman's 40s.

2. Menopause: The point in time 12 months after a woman's last menstrual period, with the average age being 51.

3. Postmenopause: The time following menopause when a woman has not had a period for over a year, though some may still experience lingering symptoms.

Menopause can manifest through a wide range of symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, sleep disturbances, anxiety, fatigue, memory loss, joint pain, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido, among others.

The oft-cited £1.88 billion annual cost to the UK economy is based on women aged 50-64, assuming they spend an average of 0.51 hours per week managing symptoms. However, Syrona Health's study, which included over 21,000 participants, revealed that support-seeking women aged 40-49 experience symptoms nearly as severe and debilitating as those aged 50 and above. These symptoms have an equally detrimental effect on productivity and absenteeism.

Extrapolating the £1.88 billion cost for women aged 50-64 to include those aged 40-49, and adjusting for the average symptom severity by age group, Syrona Health estimates an additional £1.02 billion in lost productivity and sick days due to menopause symptoms.

Astonishingly, this brings the total potential business cost of menopause and perimenopause to a staggering £2.9 billion per year – equivalent to 22 million lost working days annually.

This revelation raises a crucial question: Are governments and employers addressing menopause-related challenges a decade too late?

Syrona Health's research further reveals that 73% of support-seeking employees report a negative impact on their work performance due to menopause symptoms. Moreover, the severity of symptoms, regardless of age or menopause stage, directly correlates with the perceived impairment of work performance.

The silver lining for businesses concerned with both costs and employee well-being is that specialist menopause support has been proven to significantly alleviate symptom severity within just six months. Furthermore, well-supported employees are less likely to consider reducing their work hours or leaving their jobs altogether.

The time to act is now. Businesses must prioritise supporting every employee who has experienced, is currently going through, or will face menopause in the future. Providing comprehensive, specialist support like Syrona Health's benefits is a small investment compared to the potentially astronomical costs of inaction.

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