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5 steps to a period conscious workplace

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5 steps to a period conscious workplace

Periods are a natural part of life, yet discussions about them in the workplace are often shrouded in discomfort and stigma. Shockingly, 2 in 5 people feel so anxious about discussing their periods with colleagues that they end up wearing tampons longer than medically recommended. This must change.

It's time for workplaces to take action and provide universal, free period care. If toilet paper is a complimentary necessity, why shouldn't period products be as well?

Nearly half the world's population menstruates, spending about a third of their life at work. Yet, many women, trans, intersex, and non-binary individuals face discomfort in places that should feel safe. One of our team members shared a distressing story of bleeding through her underwear at a previous job because she was too nervous to ask for a tampon. Unfortunately, her experience is not unique.

Statistics reveal that 4 in 10 people use tampons longer than advised due to embarrassment, and 6 in 10 employees in the UK do not have access to period care at work. Additionally, a survey of 2,000 Brits found that while 26% took leave during their period, 36% gave alternative reasons like flu or stomach bugs to their employers. The same study indicated that 46% of respondents felt uncomfortable taking a tampon out of their desk drawer in front of colleagues.

In this blog, we'll reveal 5 steps to becoming a period conscious workplace... 


Step 1: Offer free period care

If toilet roll is free, then period care should be no different. Ensure your toilets are stocked with a variety of safe & healthy products such as pads, tampons and liners, so your employees have what they need when they need it.

&SISTERS by Mooncup offer exclusive rates on our period care for businesses that stock our products in their bathrooms as well as for remote workforces.


Step 2: Consider implementing a menstrual leave policy 

Penalising workers taking time off for menstrual pain creates a culture of shame and reduces productivity. Menstrual leave is a policy that supports workers who suffer from period pain and other menstrual symptoms with options for remote work and a set number of paid-leave days every year that are specifically for menstrual symptoms. 

Increasing interest in menstrual leave must coincide broader conversations around reproductive and sexual wellbeing at work:

  • Fertility Leave: allows employees to take time off work for coping with fertility treatment.
  • Menopause Leave: allows people to take time off or work remotely to cope with the side-effects of menopause.
  • Pregnancy Loss Leave: allows people to take time off after stillbirth, neonatal death, miscarriage and abortions.
  • Sexual Assault Leave: allows employees to take time off after experiencing sexual assault, domestic violence and/ or stalking.

Step 3: Support mental health

Mental health is always going to be in tune with menstrual cycles, so it is crucial that employers offer mental health resources and from online therapy like Headspace to workshops on menstrual literacy in the office.

This is even more essential for employees who have menstrual conditions like PMS or PMDD which can cause a range of emotional and physical symptoms each month, such as mood swings, lack of energy, severe anxiety and feeling hopeless. It is estimated that PMDD affects 3-8% of people of reproductive age, which amounts to millions worldwide.


Step 4: Provide the right workplace equipment

For employees with physical menstrual health symptoms, the right workplace equipment can make the world of difference. 

Examples of this may include:

  • Chairs with ample back support. 
  • Heat packs and hot water bottles.
  • Adjustable temperature settings.

Everyone is different and this isn’t a one size fits all approach. The key is opening up the conversation to work with your team to find what works best for everyone.

Step 5: Open up the conversation Build a period conscious workplace

Period stigma is deep set into our society. However, we can all play our part in stamping this out for good. Everyone (regardless of age, gender or sexuality) can embrace and encourage open conversations around menstruation. By ending the secrecy & silence that surrounds menstruation, you can begin to create a business that empowers everyone.

Here’s a few ways that your team can open up the conversation around periods.

  • Start from the top down: train your leadership teams on creating a safe space in which all employees know that they’re able to talk about any challenges regarding all areas of their health.
  • Educational workshops: help create awareness and understanding around all things menstrual health by providing training to your teams. 
  • Involve everyone: regardless of age, gender or sexuality - it’s important that everyone, including those who don’t personally experience periods, to have an understanding of the importance of menstrual health.

Build a period conscious workplace

Period conscious workplaces start with free pads and tampons in all bathrooms and disposal bins to put them in. But it certainly doesn’t end there.

Fostering a period conscious culture looks different for every workplace, because our needs vary so greatly between offices, retail environments and building sites.

Different approaches should be shaped around business context but also all menstrual life stages. Our period conscious workplace modular offering includes:

  • Lunch & Learns on menstrual health.
  • Policy support for menstrual & menopause leave.
  • Period advocacy schemes.
  • Free period care for employees in the workplace or vouchers for remote staff.
  • Educational posters for bathrooms.

Simple changes to your business’s policies, practices & infrastructure have the power to:

  • Increase trust and transparency between colleagues.
  • Differentiate your workplace culture and attract top talent.
  • Incentivise employees to produce higher quality work.


Want to work with us? Check out our Periods for Business hub to find out more.

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