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Insights Surviving menopause isn't enough. You should thrive.

Hi, I'm Emma, a Senior Consultant with the Transformation, Change & Engagement Team in Aerospace, Defence, Security & Technology. I help clients and teams adopt changes in the workplace. Joining AtkinsRéalis in June 2023, I was delighted that my skills and experiences were valued, with my age posing no barrier to employment.

I'm also a menopausal woman

Sharing this at work has been liberating. Like many women, I started by keeping my major life transition private. But, the supportive environment at AtkinsRéalis soon made me comfortable enough to talk about it to my colleagues. It's part of my lived experience that shapes my identity.

"October is 'World Menopause Month,' recognized by the WHO and International Menopause Society, illuminating a global issue. Yet, there's a disconnect in the modern workplace. 72% of women feeling unsupported during menopause*, spotlighting a need for enhanced awareness and support!" —Emma

Breaking the silent struggle

I'm sharing my experience to help break the taboo around menopause and open up frank conversations. All women should feel able to bring their whole selves to work and be accepted and supported during menopause.

Open and supportive

Knowing some of my colleagues were members of this employee-started Menopause Network gave me confidence. It felt like a safe place to share with colleagues of similar ages. I could open up about my symptoms and feelings, empathizing with others with very different experiences. My openness extended to my line manager, who was accepting and supportive.

"Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce, yet 9 out of 10 women feel unable to talk to their managers at work about their menopausal symptoms." —Government Report on Menopause & Nuffield Health Research

The reality of menopause

Looking back, I'm amazed that I was so underprepared for menopause and had no idea about the extent of its impact on my daily life. The effects were not just physical but mental and emotional, which impacted my wellbeing. Older women in my family did not discuss their symptoms openly, so I had no idea it was more than the end of my periods.

Are you falling for menopause myths?

I was also one of many women who held onto what I now know to be outdated beliefs perpetuated by media and lack of training for GPs. That HRT is 'dangerous' and the side effects are worse than the symptoms of menopause. I thought I had to get on with it—it is a natural phase of life, after all, and with time, I would be out the other side and fine.

"Menopausal symptoms can last up to 15 years, with over 60% of women experiencing behavioral changes and 1 in 4 women suffering from severe, debilitating symptoms." —Nuffield Health Research


World Menopause Day 2023: cardiovascular health

Through my reading, I discovered that menopause, or the reduction of estrogen, impacts every cell in our bodies. It's when cholesterol and blood pressure levels rise, increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes. When I was experiencing debilitating symptoms, I was much less likely to exercise, which impacted my overall health and wellbeing.

"59% of working women between the ages of 45 and 55 say menopausal symptoms negatively impact them at work, yet the dialogue around this natural phase of life remains limited in the professional setting." —CIPD

You will find help and support

Armed with the facts, I sought the medical help I needed. HRT has transformed my daily life. My symptoms subsided dramatically within three weeks of taking it. The biggest improvement was reducing the hot flushes and related sleep disturbance, which had impacted my brain function, mood, and motivation to exercise.

Staying active for heart health

Now, I walk every day with my dogs, rain or shine, which is good for my physical health, but being outdoors in nature is great for my mood and mental wellbeing, too. I also joined a gym with lots of Yoga, Pilates, and classes, which has been great for my physical and mental wellbeing. I feel more like my old self again.

"We all need to stay active, especially if you work from home. It's so easy to sit still and not take breaks. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking can improve focus and get our blood pumping!" —Emma

The AtkinsRéalis difference

I have found AtkinsRéalis to be a wonderfully inclusive place to work, with people who are friendly and genuinely interested in supporting each other. The Menopause Network is a supportive place to share and continue this open, honest conversation to keep each other going.

"A third of women report suffering anxiety, and almost half feel depressed during menopause, emphasizing the multi-dimensional impacts of this phase beyond physical symptoms." —Nuffield Health Research

Our flexible working culture

At AtkinsRéalis, hybrid working is very positive for me. I wouldn't have joined an organization if I had to travel to an office every day. Working from home allows me to cope better when symptoms are debilitating. For example, it would harm my wellbeing if I hadn't slept or hot flushes wouldn't stop. It's easier to be kind to yourself at home—choose whether to be on camera, have your feet in ice water, or have a fan running.

"30% of women have taken sick leave because of menopause symptoms, underscoring the urgent need for workplace adaptations and support to manage these natural health challenges." —CIPD

Don't do menopause alone

Menopause is a personal journey for each individual. But you do not have to travel it alone or accept the symptoms. There is help and support out there, and finding the right mix was transformational for me. My AtkinsRéalis colleagues are now part of that support system. Should I need them, I know they'll be there!

Are you ready to be part of a workplace where your wellbeing takes center stage? Join us—browse through these live job opportunities.