How to create a period-friendly workplace
Historically, the conversation of #menstruation or the very topic of #periods was often met with discomfort, long awkward silences, and stigma. While, things have changed with many non-profit organizations and activists slowly destigmatizing menstruation and recognizing it for what it is - a bodily function, it is high time that companies and workplaces follow suit.
Why should we address menstruation at the workplace?
Employers and organizations should develop a period positive workplace as it not only emotionally and physically supports menstruating employees, but it brings numerous benefits to the business as well.
Needless to say, the menstrual cycle can present several challenges for menstruators such as discomfort, painful period cramps, hormonal changes, and premenstrual syndrome. “If the cycle is not correctly understood and harnessed, it can influence your health, well-being, focus, productivity, self-confidence, emotions, intuition and communication skills”(Eresina, 2019). Another alarming fact is that Thinx’s research indicated that 42% of menstruators experienced period-shaming at work. It’s so unfortunate that this is the current reality. And now that we know this, something must be done. By actively taking steps to develop a period-friendly workplace, companies are able to assure their employees that they care for their well-being whilst also boosting employee morale and workplace inclusivity.
According to Free the Tampon “86% of women have started their period unexpectedly in public. Of those women, 62% reported going to a store immediately to buy menstrual products at least once. 34% reported going home at least in one instance when getting their period unexpectedly”. Whereas companies who have period accommodations in place found that menstruators only lost 1.3 days of productivity as compared to the average menstruator who lost 8.9 days (Kulshrestha, 2020). When companies provide menstrual products in the office, employees can feel that their physical well-being is supported and it signals that their periods are accommodated at their company. This subsequently increases employee productivity, one of the added benefits of having a period-friendly work environment.
How to create a period friendly workplace
There are several ways you can support the menstruators at your workplace and here’s how you start:
- Fill out our survey to indicate how much a period-friendly workplace means to you. Share this with your coworkers and the final report will be shared with you.
- If you are an employee, you can request HR or your manager for period products at your workplace and encourage them to check out Ruth for workplaces.
- Start your own menstrual product basket in office bathrooms.
Some other ways to showcase your support to menstruators and reap the benefits of a period friendly workplace are through the following:
- Provide free period products - According to Free the Tampon, this would cost about $4.67 USD per menstruating employee to provide free sanitary products annually. This is a small cost for increasing inclusivity and the dignity of menstruators.
- TIP - Check out Ruth’s page to see how you can offer Ruth pads to your employees.
- Educate employees - incorporate conversations about menstruation in your equity, inclusion, and diversity training to spread awareness and clear up any misconceptions about the topic. As mentioned above, this allows for a more inclusive and supportive workplace to blossom and increases workplace satisfaction.
- In addition to the two ways listed above, you can also share the idea of offering menstrual leave and updating your policies so that they can protect people from discrimination.
Does your workplace offer menstrual products? We’d love to know! Share your thoughts here 📢