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5 Must-Haves for a Menstruation-Friendly Workplace

menstruation-friendly workplace
Do you know a female spends approximately 3,000 days menstruating throughout her life? Moreover, when speaking of India, almost half of the female population is of reproductive age and menstruate. In addition, as more and more females enter an organisation, many of these women are going through it while at work. Hence, it would be negligent to think that women will not go through period troubles at some point in their life or, at the very least, that it wouldn’t impact some part of their job.  Nevertheless, the lack of knowledge among business administrators prevents women from vocalising their period pain and discomfort when it is a natural biological process. Hence, by enforcing a “period policy” and creating a menstruation-friendly workplace, women can be more open about their period discomfort and feel that their experiences are valid rather than feeling ashamed and having a stigma around periods.

5 Effective Ways to Create a Menstruation-Friendly Workplace 

It is OK to say that women act differently from men and have distinct bodily needs. These needs impact their concentration, productivity, self-confidence, well-being, and communication aptitudes, all things that add to how effectively they work. Hence, if you are a workplace administrator who wants to actively and genuinely care about your female employees’ menstruation issues, here are a few steps to make a menstruation-friendly environment for women.
  • Allow breaks.
Office work can be challenging, and between the raging hormones and positively handling bleeding and abdominal pain, periods can be an extra source of anxiety. That’s without taking into added stress from menstrual-related disorders like adenomyosis, endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and perimenopause – to name just a few! This additional stress can significantly affect women’s physical and mental well-being, innovation, creativity, and employee engagement. In addition, it can lead to raised inflammation, sleeping problems, slow metabolism, fatigue, memory loss, and more. Therefore, it makes sense to try to handle your employees’ anxiety for them to function better. It could imply anything from introducing mindfulness and yoga classes in the workplace to offering dedicated space for female employees to de-stress and breathe. Moreover, allowing workers to take a 10-minute break to lie down with a hot water bag or head outside for some fresh air may not affect their work but could be worth a lot to that person and their association with your company.
  • Offer free period products.
If toilet paper is complimentary in office (and all public) washrooms, so should different menstrual products. It comprises, but is not restricted to, pads, tampons, and hot water bottles. It is even better if they are sourced from an eco-friendly brand. There are numerous reasons this initiative will help build a positive culture and boost employee retention. Many females cannot afford quality period products and might choose to stay home, abandoning work. Making good-quality sanitary products available at your workplace eliminates the worry of being unprepared and makes them worry less about having unexpected menses at work.  Moreover, sometimes, periods come abruptly before the due date due to any factor. In such cases, many women might have nothing with them or not adequate to last the whole day, making them stressed about bleeding onto and ruining their clothes. If the female workers are apprehensive about leaking, they cannot focus on their job or stand up to go to conferences or colleagues’ desks because they’re afraid to move due to the worry of leakage. It is not facilitative to productivity and adds to the concerned person’s anxiety or mood swings. Hence, to avoid such occurrences and relieve the stress of female workers at your workplace, it is better to have feminine hygiene products available in every washroom. In addition, free painkiller medicines might also be useful, just like you maintain a first aid kit or a doctor on site while accepting all legalities for supplying medicines. Additionally, it would be accommodating to maintain a variety of painkillers because some females may be allergic to some drugs and because some painkillers work more agreeably for period discomfort than others. Likewise, providing complimentary menstrual cups could also be an ideal resort or add-on to supplying pads and tampons. They are an outstanding product as women don’t have to use the restroom so much, which could be significantly difficult if the washroom is on a separate floor. Apart from that, offering free subscriptions to period-tracking mobile apps could also be an outstanding way to facilitate a menstruation-friendly workplace. This way, female employees can better handle their symptoms and understand when they might feel off and then back on 
  • Educate your workforce and create awareness.
Only useful things can come from smashing down taboos around menstruation and stigma and having honest discussions about menstruation that have been overlooked and hushed for too long. Calling experts to deliver informative workshops on menstruation and the related discomfort portrays understanding and acceptance, ultimately leading to improved empathy and a more amicable workplace.  In addition, you must organise these workshops for everyone in the organisation, from the CEO to senior management to interns and, importantly, for both females and males. Men need to comprehend what their female coworkers go through, and women must understand what their bodies face and what to do at each stage of their menstrual cycle. Education around these problems guides workers that there are many different signs of menstruation, not just the bleeding itself, especially when a female has endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Another helpful part about such conversations is that it opens up the discussion for numerous other topics, such as men’s well-being and how to deal with prostate cancer. It could also be anything from the point that transgender employees may face period issues or have an abnormal menstrual cycle. Discussions about menstrual leave policies and knowing about each other’s hobbies outside work and families may also arise. This way, you can keep your employees happy and healthy. Aware workers mean better productivity and a successful company.
  • Provide extensive medical insurance.
Providing your workers with extensive medical insurance policies can change how the female workers in your organisation manage their menstruation. Usually, periods can impact a regular workday because women do not have access to painkiller medicines or might have an undiagnosed disease that they cannot afford to get examined. Additionally, it is better to choose medical insurance that compensates contraception or painkillers for employees required to help handle heavy and distressing periods. Specialist doctors and surgeries could be game-changer. Again, this is something you can deliver for every individual in the company but would be particularly useful and valued by females in this regard.
  • Trust female employees.
Altogether, creating a menstruation-friendly organisation comes down to simply trusting female workers. Trust them to understand when they are most efficacious and when they require rest will always work in favour of your organisation. However, suppose women think they will have to arrive at the office despite their discomfort about repercussions. In that case, they will be potentially less productive since they are in pain.  Moreover, suppose someone is already in distress, feeling bad and emotional for not being as productive as they typically are. In that case, they do not need the added pressure from a supervisor or leader who doesn’t understand the underlying reasons. It will not benefit their productivity and eventually will not help the business. Additionally, it is not facilitative to productivity if workers don’t have a supportive environment for taking time off or period leaves. Therefore, it is rational and necessary to trust your female employees to make the most profitable and productive decisions for themselves and the company.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, building a menstruation-friendly workplace is not only the correct thing to do but also something which eventually benefits the organisation’s bottom line. It also conveys that a worker’s well-being is considered and respected. Ultimately, as the adage goes, people don’t leave imperfect jobs; they leave bad managers. Hence, to retain the most promising talent, you must cater to your workers’ health and well-being. Executing some of these steps makes female employees more relaxed and makes management more approachable. If you want your company to thrive, your workers need to be assured that you are receptive to feedback and conversations on different issues, not just menstruation and that you are adaptable and trusting.  In Addition to this government has made a policy of maternity leave in India. Are you looking for reliable HR automation software? sumHR can be your perfect partner. For more details, visit us! 

What do we mean by a menstruation-friendly workplace?

A menstruation-friendly workplace refers to an organisation that caters to female workers' menstrual discomfort, providing access to period products and paid menstrual leaves.

Why is it necessary to have a period-friendly workplace?

It is essential to have a period-friendly workplace as it helps female workers feel relaxed and respected in their organisation, lowers absenteeism, and improves productivity.

Can period-friendly workplace guidelines benefit male workers as well?

Yes, an inclusive and supportive workplace benefits all workers perform work on time and efficiently. Additionally, it can help bring up conversations about important male-centric issues too.
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