March 18, 2024

How do you Celebrate Neurodiversity in your Workplace?

Every March we mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week in our business, but this year we’ve been talking with members of our team and clients who are neurodivergent about what they’d like to see in how we recognise and celebrate this week.  Is celebration even the right term, is recognition not more important?  And how do we carry this throughout the year, ensuring our commitments extend longer than an annual event?

“I have always thought that calendar dates such as Black History Month and Neurodiversity Celebration Week were a time that people could build awareness, learn, and recognise differences as a great thing. A recent conversation changed this, however, when someone told me that it’s during months like these that they are at their most vulnerable and can receive the most hate. As much as I was saddened by this, it unfortunately makes sense. This was a stark reminder to be the best Ally during these ‘celebrations’ and check in on your team if they hold these identities.”

Katy Morrison, EDI Lead at Connect Three

Understanding Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity encompasses the natural variation in neurological functioning present in human beings. It acknowledges that individuals may think, learn, and communicate in diverse ways due to differences in brain development and processing. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term covering a spectrum of differing skill profiles including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome, dyspraxia and more. Rather than viewing these differences as deficits, neurodiversity recognises them as unique expressions of human cognition and behaviour.

“We all carry a bias that other people think the same way we do, but this can be harmful to ourselves and others. In the workplace, in particular, this bias can prevent companies from supporting neurodiverse employees and recognizing their unique challenges.”
Cara Pelletier, Senior Director of Diversity Equity & Belonging at UKG.

The Importance of Recognition

Experts estimate that, on average, 15 per cent of any workforce will be neurodiverse.  Recognising Neurodiversity Celebration Week serves several critical purposes. Firstly, it raises awareness about neurodiversity and challenges stereotypes and stigmas associated with neurological differences. It fosters a culture of inclusion where individuals feel valued and respected regardless of their cognitive differences. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for organisations to reflect on their policies, practices, and accommodations to better support neurodiverse employees.

Not all neurodiverse employees will display the same skills profile, but there are common themes. For instance, a neurodiverse person will often have distinct peaks and dips in their skillset, while a non-neurodiverse person’s skills profile will be less varied. Employers that make adjustments to balance the impact that these dips can have on a person will see greater benefits at the peaks of their skills.  But where do you begin?

Create an Inclusive Environment

It is incredibly important that we recognise that:

  1. Not everyone who is neurodivergent has been diagnosed.
  2. Not everyone who is diagnosed as neurodivergent wants people to know about their diagnosis.


The difficult truth is that as a leader you cannot wait to be handed a list of problems from an employee that you can then set out to solve.  It also means that the very idea of celebrating Neurodiversity by highlighting those who are neurodiverse within your organisation can be a terrible idea!  Being in the spotlight is not comfortable for many people, and we need to respect that in organisations.

Instead, by creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace, you can amplify the voices of people who need to be heard.  By providing platforms for people who wish to share, and encouraging open dialogue and active listening, you can help to foster empathy, understanding, and collaboration throughout your teams.

Positive Impacts and Reasonable Adjustments

“We need to think about the questions we are asking and do these help to give us the information to make the right adjustments for people. The Business Disability Forum suggests, rather that asking what conditions people have, lead with the adjustment 1st. For example: ‘may find indoor lighting difficult’ or ‘may use assistive technology’. Woking to find out the solutions people need, will allow you to make a more positive impact.” Katy

As we said at the start, there are often common themes across people who have a neurodiverse skills profile and while it can seem impossible to cater for everyone’s individual requirements in a large workforce, by making reasonable adjustments, you can often improve every employee’s experience.

Katy’s favourite example of this is that lowered kerbs at pedestrian crossings were originally put in place to aid wheelchair users, but everyone from cyclists to people pushing buggies now benefits from what was originally a reasonable adjustment for a single subset of society.

In the workplace we can think of similar adjustments which can aid everyone.  For example, people who struggle with organisation or long-term planning can be helped with reminders of important deadlines, and clear messages about what is currently a priority for the team.  Reminders and clarity can foster better communication for everyone, so this reasonable adjustment can have a wider positive impact.  Similarly, many neurodiverse skillsets include issues with concentration and focus, whether it be hyperfocus, or a tendency to be easily distracted.  These dips and peaks in skills can both see a positive impact from time blocking and regular short breaks, which again can be beneficial to all people in a work environment.

So our key take away?  Don’t wait for people to come out as Neurodivergent, and instead, use this Neurodiversity Celebration Week as a spark to start conversations in your teams about adjustments that everyone can benefit from and start to build them into your policies and practices.

Further Support

If you’d like more in depth support on celebrating neurodiversity in your business, why not join our webinar with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Neurodiversity in the Workplace on Friday 19th April at 10am?  Sign up here.

October 19, 2023

How to Deal with High Absence Rates in the Workplace

Sickness absence rates in the UK have risen to a 10-year high, with employees now averaging 7.8 days off in the past year, compared to the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 days. These figures are revealed in a comprehensive survey conducted by the CIPD and Simplyhealth which sheds light on the growing issue of absenteeism in the UK workplace.

Stress As A Leading Cause

The study identifies stress as a significant factor contributing to absences, with a staggering 76% of respondents reporting stress-related absences in their organisations over the past year.  The survey showed that mental health issues played a role in both short-term absences (39%) and long-term absences (63%).

We spoke to the HR & People Experts on the Connect Three team to dig deeper into why this might be happening and what businesses could do to support their teams.

1. Long Hours in Unhappy Workplaces

Colin Lamb, our Founder and Chief Explorer, believes the new ways that we are working is a cause of employee burnout and absenteeism:

“We are now operating in a more complex working environment where we are working physically, virtually, and hybrid. This increased complexity is more demanding on people.” He says.

Susan McRoberts echoes his concerns: “One of the biggest challenges in our new way of working is that there is no 'downtime'.  Previously, if you worked longer hours your manager would encourage you to take the time back, that's more difficult to do now.”

So how do we help to combat this predilection to overwork that people are facing?  Colin is passionate that it is the business’s responsibility to reduce overwork, wither by changing how we operate, or taking advantage of digital technologies. He continues; “Organisations need to do more to support their teams with a strong wellbeing strategy including financial, social, physical focus areas.”


2. Understaffed and Overworked

The report cited Heavy workloads as the primary cause of stress-related absences at 67%, but what is causing the increase in pressure on employees? Yvonne Anderson works closely with a number of our high-growth clients, and she believes the workload could be down to the imbalance she is seeing between many companies’ growth aspirations and the workforce available to meet these demands.

She says: “I’m seeing companies that are focused on growth, but do not have the people to deliver the extra work that we are demanding.  We are seeing people leaving and others having to pick up their work, while recruitment strategies fail.”

The solution is not to shy away from growth, however.  Yvonne believes that through better resource planning and changing approaches to recruiting, businesses can tackle heavy workloads.  “Rather than waiting for the ideal candidate, businesses should focus on training and development, attraction and retention; on improving working environments for the people they have, and attracting the people they need.”

3. Poor Management

As the report highlighted, Poor Management Styles accounted for 37% of stress-related absences, which is certainly something that our explorer Teresa Robertson agrees with.  “Poor Management style is always a major contributor to employee stress,” she says, “whether it is caused by company culture, or a lack of training for their managers, it is always a factor.”  Like Yvonne, Teresa highlights the importance of investing in learning and development to support and upskill managers in their roles, and how better management is absolutely vital in reducing stress in the workplace.

4. Poor Management of Absence

As well as solving the causes, Susan Crawford believes that more focus is needed on how companies are managing absences, something she is passionate about solving. 

She says, “Many managers are not equipped to manage absence, especially absence linked to mental wellbeing.  Poor management of absence in the first place almost endorses people being off, and puts more pressure on others in the teams.  This can lead to others burning out, getting frustrated, and even having to take time off too.  More has to be done to equip our managers with how to manage absence more effectively.” 

Is Stress Really on The Increase?

The rate of absences may be increasing, but we could question whether stress as the leading cause has increased as dramatically as the report suggests.  Is it that more that people are more willing to acknowledge mental health as a reason for their absences rather than masking it behind other explanations?

Vicky O’Connor believes this could be the case.  She has seen a positive shift in attitudes towards mental health in the workplace. “There has been a big change in how mental health is viewed at work.  It's become more acceptable to talk about it since the pandemic, and acknowledge it as the reason for health and performance issues.”

There is No Quick Fix

Vicky also points out that since there's often no quick fix for the issues people face at work, they can have a prolonged impact on overall wellness and contribute to stress-related illnesses.

She says; “Mental health is a huge area with so many moving parts, which is one reason that many managers and workplaces are still not well educated around and don't know how to deal with it appropriately.  We need to see a focus on supporting people as individuals, and being flexible within the boundaries of policy and practice to support people back to work.”

If you are concerned about absences in your workplace, get in touch with our HR team.  We can offer coaching and support to help you to prioritise the health and happiness of your teams, without compromising on your organisation’s growth and sustainable future.

October 16, 2023

Menopause in the Workplace: How You Can Make the Difference

With over 30 potential symptoms, perimenopause and menopause can be a debilitating time for those going through it, and it is heartening to see the recent focus ‘Menopause in the Workplace’ has been receiving.  Many employers have taken the first steps to introduce supportive mechanisms, however sadly, the Fawcett Report (2022) reported that 7 in 10 menopausal women still say their workplace still has no basic support – support networks, related absence policies, awareness raising amongst staff - in place.

Many are now more aware of the physical symptoms of menopause, but there is a worrying lack of awareness of the emotional and cognitive symptoms experienced– high levels of anxiety are reported by 51% of those going through menopause, along with 20% diagnosed with depression, particularly in the 3 to 4 years after periods stop.  Other symptoms include poor concentration, loss of confidence, memory problems, panic attacks, anger and irritability - all of which can take a toll on a woman’s working life.

The Business Case for Change

People over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing segment of the UK workforce, yet one in five of those experiencing menopause symptoms end up leaving work before retirement age.  Around half of those experiencing symptoms state that their symptoms had a negative impact on their work, including finding it hard to meet deadlines, concentrate in meetings, make decisions and work effectively with other colleagues.

With it costing upwards of £30,000 to replace an experienced staff member, having a supportive culture, policy and framework will save employers thousands.  Couple that with the additional benefits of reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improved performance and motivation, increased employee satisfaction, and an overall impact on the reputation and brand of an organisation, it makes sense for employers to introduce impactful yet cost-effective supportive measures for those affected. 

A lack of understanding of the legal implications of not having support in place can also be costly -  ACAS reported a 44% rise in menopause-related tribunals recently,  with some cases paying out around £65,000.  It can be difficult to navigate the different legislation that protects those going through menopause - although there is no specific law covering menopause, the Equality Act (2010) includes protected characteristics such as age, sex, etc.  Also, under Health and Safety legislation, employers must ensure a physically and emotionally safe working environment for all employees. 

Breaking Through the Stigma

Unfortunately, even with its recent spotlight, many going through menopause still find it difficult to speak up in the workplace when struggling - 47% of sufferers say they wouldn’t state if the reason they had a sick day was down to menopausal symptoms.  There are several reasons for this, including being perceived negatively in the workplace (46%), feeling their ability would be questioned (41%), and seeing menopause being treated as a joke by others at work (41%).  

Coping with hormonal and physical changes can leave many women feeling embarrassed, confused and isolated, all making it difficult to be open about their experience. This can result in many women not putting themselves forward for promotional opportunities, not taking on extra responsibilities, and not having the confidence to put their thoughts and feelings forward when required.  Cultural change is the first step in ensuring this group feel safe and protected enough to speak up about their support needs. 

How can Employers support their affected staff?

Putting into place effective support mechanisms is a journey that involves the entire organisation, not just those adversely affected, and there are several points to consider:

  • Listen
    Before introducing any new processes or making any changes, listen to those affected and gain insight into how they feel, how they have been affected and what would help. 
  • Engage
    Changing culture and mindsets will involve the whole organisation, and consulting with as much of the workforce as possible will help prepare employees for any new changes and help embed any new policies and processes. 
  • Equity and Diversity (EDI)
    Any support and policy change must consider transgender women and non-binary individuals – the language used must be inclusive.  Also, bear in mind that menopause is still a taboo subject in some cultures, and some may prefer to access support anonymously rather than face an uncomfortable discussion. 
  • Raise Awareness
    Raising awareness of menopause, menopause myths, and menopause symptoms is the foundation of change, and helping teams understand and support colleagues who are impacted. This can take the form of awareness sessions, workshops, videos, guides, and campaigns. 
  • Manager Support
    Managers must be trained by specialists to support their teams in order to recognise the signs that a team member could be struggling with menopause symptoms, develop support plans, and have difficult conversations. 
  • Policies
    Developing and promoting a relevant and accessible menopause policy that clearly outlines what support the organisation offers and how to access this support, shows that the employer recognises the need for support, values the employee’s continued contribution, and will not be judged for coming forward.  

    Any policy must include tangible support mechanisms, such as flexible working, quiet spaces, sickness and absence support, and being understanding of medication time out. These actions should tie in with other organisational health and well-being policies which can benefit all members of the organisation, such as creating a well-being passport which can promote open discussions between peers.
  • Environmental changes
    Ensuring the environment is set up to support those with symptoms includes having a well-ventilated office, and ensuring there are private areas for those needing to have open conversations, quiet spaces for those needing a noise break, and that any uniforms are made from breathable material – and any other changes highlighted through previous consultation and engagement methods.
  • Allow time
    Time must be spent to build up the correct policy and workplace practices so that people can access the right support. Time must also be given to allow for the cultural change to take place, for the tone and language around menopause to change for the better, so that those affected feel comfortable enough to access support.  Menopause treatment itself takes time to take effect, and it may take some time for women to see some real changes.  Workplaces must allow for this uncertain time, and ensure support is in place throughout this treatment journey.
  • Continual Monitoring
    What milestones can be put in place to ensure the business is progressing in the right direction? Menopause support is an ever-changing field, and regular ongoing monitoring and feedback must be in place to ensure effective support is being offered.

Providing the right support for those going through menopause can feel like a huge task for employers, with several factors to consider such as EDI, stigma, and cultural change.  The focus on menopause does mean that guidance and support are now more readily available – take the first step this World Menopause Day and contact our team here at Connect Three to support you to begin this important journey. 

Sources:

May 15, 2023

Stepping into Mental Health Week

The month of May is National Walking Month, and this week is the UK’s Mental Health Week – so what better time to look at how walking and mental health awareness can work together for your and your team’s mental well-being?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

The theme of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is “Anxiety”.  While anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. According to The Mental Health Foundation’s recent survey, six in ten adults feel so anxious that it stops them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time.

There are lots of tips on their website for ways in which you can support your mental health and the well-being of your team, including getting some exercise.

“Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our well-being. Even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.” The Mental Health Foundation.

#WalkThisMay

That brings us nicely to #WalkThisMay!

May is Living Street’s National Walking Month when they encourage everyone to celebrate the health and happiness benefits of walking and wheeling more.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve our health and stay connected to our community, helping us feel less lonely and isolated.  What’s more, by swapping a short drive for a short walk, you can even help to reduce air pollution and even save yourself some money in the process!

All of these great benefits of walking fit in so well with Connect Three’s own values that we decided to get involved by tracking our steps as a team for the month.  We’ll be giving out internal prizes for steps achieved, as well as other awards for achievements like “Most Walking Meetings”!

If you’d like to get involved, or just find out more, visit the Living Street website.

We’ll share our successes at the end of the month, so follow us on our social media channels for updates on what else we’re doing to support our team’s mental health in May and beyond.

April 14, 2023

Stress Awareness Month – Focusing on the Workplace

April is Stress Awareness Month in the UK, a time of the year when individuals and businesses work together to raise awareness of the causes and cures of one of the biggest public health challenges of our time – poor mental health.

Despite what the Stress Management Society calls our “modern-day stress epidemic”, few employers take the impact of mental health problems seriously enough.

“We continue to separate mental health from physical health and vice
versa. The reality is they cannot be separate – they are two sides of the
same coin. There is no health without mental health and stress can
lead to numerous health problems. From physical problems, like heart
disease, insomnia, digestive issues, immune system challenges, etc to
more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.”
The Stress Management Society (emphasis added)

April is the time when we have an opportunity for an open conversation on the impact of stress in the workplace.  We can help to remove the guilt, shame, and stigma around mental health by creating opportunities to talk about stress, and its effects, and to open up about our mental and emotional state.

#ChooseHope

This year’s theme for Stress Awareness Month is #choosehope. Having hope is imperative to find a way beyond the challenges of mental health, and to take action to improve our lives.

This year we are encouraged to go beyond talking, and start taking action and personal responsibility for creating a positive change.

How Leaders can get involved

1 - Encourage your team to take the 30 Day Challenge

Stress Management Society has created a 30 Day Challenge for April where everyone is encouraged to choose one action each day to support their Physical, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing.

2 - Create space to talk

We can work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with colleagues, and by creating safe spaces for our people to share.

3 - Share your coping mechanisms

If something has worked for you, why not share it?  It may benefit someone else in your team, or in their families.

4 - Be considerate to those who are stressed

Treat others going through stress, or suffering from anxiety with compassion and empathy and encourage your team to do the same.

5 - Look after yourself

We all need to think more about self–care, even leaders.  Make sure that you take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy.

June 10, 2022

Men’s Health Week – Mental Health at Work


Men’s Health Week – Mental Health at Work

Every year the Men’s Health Forum takes one week to encourage men to turn attention inward and make the time to prioritise their health.  This is so important in 2022 as, during the pandemic, early-stage cancer diagnoses fell by one third in the first lockdown, and mental health problems increased exponentially.  It’s time to right these wrongs, and encourage everyone to get checked out – but why the particular focus on men? For one reason, male visits to the GP fell more than any other gender’s, and statistically, men are less likely to seek help for a mental health problem. 

This year the Men’s Health Forum has created some specific collateral that focuses on mental health, and they are encouraging all men to take a ‘Mental Health MOT’.  They have created a short manual that uses a simple formula as a gateway to helping men take the first steps in looking after their mental health.

The ‘Men’s Health MOT for the Mind’ uses a tool called the CAN DO approach:

  • Connect – Boost your connections with others
  • Active – Easy ways to get active
  • Notice – Enjoy greater awareness of your environment
  • Discover – Keep Learning
  • Offer – Give to Others

At Connect Three we teach the importance of prioritising people’s mental health in the workplace, and how by offering support at work, you can help to improve people’s quality of life in general.  So with that in mind, we asked two of our male team members to take a look at the Mental Health MOT manual, and review the CAN DO approach for our clients and people.

First, before we look at the manual, do you think men really need a separate campaign to encourage them to look after their health?

David: “Yes I really do. Men are less likely to pay attention to their health – mental or physical – or to have a natural outlet to talk about these things. And when a man has poor mental health it’s more likely that this will be ruining someone else’s life too, for example, by them taking it out on others at home, or work.”

Gregor: “I agree.  A targeted campaign will help men relate and be able to focus on mental health challenges that are more prevalent in men. The best way to shift how men view their mental health is for them to see other men lead by example. Separate campaigns can help showcase these examples and create change.”

Is an ‘MOT’ and ‘CAN DO’ approach the answer?

Gregor: “Well – actually I was quite put off by the title!  ‘Man MOT’ is stereotyped towards a ‘manly-man who likes cars’…I don’t think I’m the only person that would feel alienated by it.

“The CAN DO approach is a great, factually correct system, but I think it falls down in its execution.  If you’re mentally struggling, facing burnout, and you feel like there is too much going on, CAN DO implies you should push through rather than pause and reflect.  The whole guide assumes you are going to have the time and energy to be proactive, and have the headspace and motivation to try the challenges.  This might be really useful for some people, but for others, it’s too far in the future.

Looking after yourself starts with self-reflection; understanding where you are at, not jumping into adding more things.”

OK, so the idea of making connections, speaking up, and gaining more awareness is correct – but wording it to sound like ‘just push through’ might give the wrong message! 

So what should workplaces be doing to help support their male employee’s mental health, especially with burnout becoming a real problem for all sizes of businesses?

David: “The first step, like Gregor says, is reflection and education.  We need to find ways to make it as normal to talk about mental health in the workplace as it is to talk about physical illness.  Leaders need to help people to get past ‘I’m fine’, and raise awareness of the outward signs of burnout and other common mental health problems.”

Gregor: “I agree, education is key.  Leaders should offer resources that people can access without having to raise flags or contact HR.  Step one in getting help, especially for men, should not be ‘admit your problem to someone’.  A huge barrier to men seeking help is fear of embarrassment or ridicule. Let’s remove that by giving out resources before they’re asked for.

“Male senior leaders need to be role models and be open about their own challenges with mental health.  This will help others in the business be open, start to listen, and maybe start to chat.”

Gregor, you are part of the Wellbeing team in Connect Three, what can you share that we do that might help others get started?

Gregor: “At Connect Three we have wellbeing sessions where we all come together to discuss how we’re getting on and what support would be helpful.  These are incredibly useful and, personally, I gain comfort from knowing others are going through or have been through similar situations; and I gain knowledge on what might help me get through them.  Having mixed-gender sessions lets men see how other genders share and speak about things – both positive and negative.  A separate campaign for men is great, but collaboration can be really helpful too.”

Amazing – thanks!  Any final thoughts David?

David: “It’s great that men’s mental health is being talked about more and more but we still have a long way to go. Let’s use this momentum to have conversations and be open to how we’re doing from there we can look at ways to help each other and ourselves.”

November 3, 2021

How to Reboard your People

Your people are not going back to the same workplace they left in March 2020 when the first UK lockdown started.  In the last 18 months the world has changed, and these differences will be around for the foreseeable future.  Now we need to help our people to transition from the ‘temporary’ ways of working we’ve had in place since then, to a new, safe, and inclusive workplace.  This is the principle behind reboarding.

Reboarding is the idea of welcoming your people back in a similar way as you would ‘onboard’ new employees; creating training and resources to help them make the move back to the office, or whatever new ways of working you have envisaged for your business’s future.

Creating this plan and process can be daunting, but think of it as the chance to design a new, improved employee experience that you can be proud of.

  1. Agree on the Vision & Make a Plan
    Before you start, you need to be clear on what your new workplace will look like.  As with all things, we would encourage you to consult with as many of your people as possible rather than rolling out your ideal solution and discovering that it will not work for your teams.  Surveys are telling us that single people want back to the office and couples want to work at home; that Millennials want back to their desks while Gen X want to work from home forever – without trying too hard I’m sure you can think of a dozen examples from your people, friends, and family where these generalisations do not apply, so please don’t assume that you know what people will want to do.  Just ask them instead.
  2. Support your Leaders so they can support your People
    Once you have your vision and plan in place, get your leaders ready.  You need to support them so that they are in a place to support their teams.  Many of us have relied on our managers to take on new responsibilities around the wellbeing of their teams when we were thrust into lockdown the first time.  Now as we seek to change their ways of working again, your people may feel anxious and out-of-place, and you need to equip your leaders to help support your teams through this.
  3. Prepare, Train, and take Feedback
    Ensure leaders know where they can access resources to help them to reboard their teams successfully; offer them updated training so they are confident about answering their people’s questions and addressing any concerns; and provide them a way to pass feedback upwards on what the teams are asking for, and let them know that this feedback is being acted on.
  4. Respect Individual Needs
    If there was one simple lesson that we could impart on the businesses working through their reboarding plans right now, it is ‘treat your people as individuals’.  No two people had the same experience of the pandemic, and it could be that no two people in your organisation require the same support as they return to the workplace.  Recognise their unique experiences, discover their needs, and your people will thrive.

For support developing your reboarding plan, get in touch with Connect Three today.

October 1, 2021

October is Menopause Awareness Month | Making a Menopause Friendly Workplace


According to Rachel Weiss, founder of The Menopause Café, too many companies still believe that it is acceptable to use the term ‘menopausal’ as a slur or insult in a workplace, and cites plenty of examples[1].  In 2018, the Deputy Head of the Bank of England[2] reported that the UK economy was ‘entering a menopausal phase’, meaning it was past its best in terms of productivity. What other situation is there left in the UK that it is acceptable to mock or discriminate against someone for in the workplace?  Or is being menopausal the last taboo in the UK office?

According to the NHS website[3], there are more than 30 symptoms associated with menopause, from psychological and physical challenges affecting sleep, concentration, mood, and anxiety levels, along with more visible symptoms including hot flushes.  It is tough to go through menopause in silence and even tougher to be working in an environment with no support.

You cannot let the senior leaders of your organisation leave with their considerable talent, knowledge, and experience just because their needs are not supported.

So how up to date is your support policy for menopausal women?  Wait…you don’t have one?  Well, you aren’t alone, but we are here to help.

Becoming a Menopause Friendly Workplace

Let’s start now. World Menopause Day is this month on 18th October and is a great opportunity to open discussions in your company.  From here, there are two clear steps for you to walk through in your mission to becoming  Menopause Friendly Workplace:

Step 1: EDUCATION and AWARENESS

Education of your people is key, as is training leaders to know how to make provisions for menopausal employees when required.  Your goal should be creating an open culture where mentioning menopause is as natural as raising any other health, mental health, and general well-being topics.  Women need to be able to have an open and honest conversation about what they need to help manage their symptoms, and reduce any negative impact on their mental health or the business.

Step 2: MAKE A POLICY

You need to create and implement a specific menopause policy so initial enthusiasm makes way for long-term changes.  By offering similar wellbeing policies and procedures as those in place for mental health support, stress management, new parents, and bereavement, you can support your female leaders at a time when they are vulnerable.

You should consider in your policy:

  • Options for flexible working models.
  • Training and development for team leaders.
  • Work environment comfort.
  • Access to specific healthcare information for affected women.

For more help with getting your policies in place, get in touch with Connect Three today.

RESOURCES:

Get started on your own education by reading some of the guidance on these sites:

 

SOURCES:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/17/my-bosses-were-happy-to-destroy-me-the-women-forced-out-of-work-by-menopause

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44138229#:~:text=The%20Bank%20of%20England%27s%20deputy,and%20no%20longer%20so%20potent%22.

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/symptoms/

January 26, 2021

Reflect, Reset and Refocus

When most of us look in the mirror we recognise our appearance as one which we are familiar with (and quite often we exaggerate those imperfections only we can see) however, how often do you give yourself the time to look inward to become more familiar with your own operating system made up of your values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings etc…

Against the backdrop of 2020 there was no shortage of new experiences and challenges about how we work, how we learn, how we think and how we live. It is so important to make the most of these as we do not learn from the experiences themselves, we learn from reflecting on our experiences. Only then can we start to make sense of what that means because, in the words of Ralph Emerson, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”.

I recently ran practical workshops for both Glasglow Girls and SWIB which gave the participants the opportunity to be ‘healthily selfish’ by taking time out to explore what was important to each of them, their happiness and their well-being. Through using the concept of Ikigai I gave participants a framework to enable them to make structure those reflections in a way which helps to reset the now and refocus the future.

While we’re nearly at the end of January 2021, consider what time you’ve given yourself to reflect, reset and refocus, to define the impact you want to make this year and to identify what you need to do to make your dreams into plans…it’s never to late to start!

November 19, 2020

What is OK Positive?

We’ve introduced a brand new tool into the Connect Three team’s daily lives that we are really excited to tell you about. Katy has been the driving force behind it, so we’ll let her explain in her own words:

“I am delighted that we will be using OK Positive in Connect Three as part of the benefits that we offer our team members.

It is a tool that is for personal use designed to help people be more aware of their own happiness levels. The thing that I love the most is that it gives you lots of tools and resources for you to explore what strategies work to help you build emotional strength and wellbeing of your mind.

There is yoga, mindfulness colouring, meditation, breathing, as well as budgeting tools.

We will use these to host team events to encourage more team activities and open up communication on mental health at work.

I am so proud that we are taking this on and we hope to encourage more businesses to invest in their team’s mental well-being by us using this app.”

If you’d like to find out more about this or any of the other tools that we use to keep our team happy and motivated, get in touch with any member of the team today.

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