More than half the global workforce consists of women and this figure is on the rise in recent years. This makes it all the more important for progressive employers to consider the impact of the workplace on women’s health and wellness. The need for diverse policies and their role in attracting and retaining top female talent has been recognized. Hence more and more employers are aiming to set an inclusive and empowering tone by providing a holistic approach to support women’s health and wellness at the workplace.
Our research has identified the primary health focus areas that dominate the women’s workplace, leading to absenteeism and impacting productivity
- Menstrual care
- Migraines and headaches
- Stress management
This article intends to provide a perspective on each of these areas and some insights into the prevention and reservation of good health practices that will support women in the workplace.
1) Menstrual Care
With most women in the workforce are of reproductive age, there is a high need to create accessible and affordable health services in today’s workplace to support women.
Some of our recommended approaches are:
- Offering free access to menstrual products and supporting health services in a confidential and secure environment. Some of these services include access to female doctors and nurses at the health centre, basic pharmacy supplies such as pain medication and even nutrients supplements.
- Providing access to herbal teas, which has proven to relieve pain and cramping. Ingredients like ginger and fennel are well researched to have anti-inflammatory properties and can even help with bloating and indigestion.
- Educating the young workforce by conducting periodic healthcare seminars on menstruation and the reproductive system including discussions on early onset of symptoms and preservation techniques will foster understanding and empathy amongst workers and create a healthy environment.
2) Migraines and headaches
Migraines are a severe form of headaches and are common especially amongst working women, mostly affecting those between the ages of 35-45. They tend to last for long durations that can disrupt work and productivity.
A few considerations in the care for migraines and headaches are:
- Teaching employees simple neck exercises would help in tension relief. Primary contributors of migraines tend to be bad postures and neck straining. Exercises would help in the prevention and improve posture.
- Providing hot and cold compresses and relief spaces to recollect themselves during a migraine attack. Hot/cold compresses have been proven to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with migraines.
- Educating the workforce on identifying past causes of migraines to prevent future occurrences. As migraines tend to not have just one isolated cause, employees should be aware of what their individual triggers might be as a prevention measure.
4) Stress management
As working women are expected to strike a balance between work and personal responsibilities, there is room for additional stressors that can exacerbate mental health issues like anxiety and depression. While there is still a stigma around mental healthcare, as progressive employers, proactive change can be made by offering support in the workplace.
Here are a few suggestions to be considered:
- Conducting daily mindfulness sessions before the workday will improve mood and relieve stress. Mindfulness is an invaluable tool for supporting mental health and a skill that can be practised outside of work as well.
- Hosting yoga and pranayama classes have been proven throughout history to have numerous medicinal benefits and a huge impact in reducing stress amongst employees.
- Providing access to herbal teas like camomile tea, which is renowned for its ability to rejuvenate and promote calmness. Encouraging the replacement of caffeinated drinks with camomile tea can make a huge positive impact of the employee’s mental health.