Diversity and inclu­sion are fun­da­mental parts of cor­por­ate cul­ture for many com­pan­ies. Diverse genders, ori­gins and ori­ent­a­tions are val­ued and sought after. This makes it all the more incom­pre­hens­ible why this cul­ture is so little lived out for men­stru­at­ors. Why is there a foos­ball table, but no free tam­pons in the toi­lets? Why do people still fake a cold or indi­ges­tion when the period is the real cause of their pain? The estab­lish­ment of a period-friendly work­place is long over­due. Why? Because the open approach to peri­ods at work has advant­ages for every­one. Work­ing in a world designed only for cis-men can­not be good or healthy in the long run. The neg­lect of the period is part of out­dated struc­tures designed for non-men­stru­at­ing employ­ees. In our view, true equal­ity and diversity in the work­place is rather about valu­ing dif­fer­ences and the asso­ci­ated adjust­ment of the actual situ­ation. Our idea: a period-friendly cor­por­ate culture!

3 good reas­ons why peri­ods at work should be normalized

  1. An inclus­ive cor­por­ate cul­ture leads to more well-being in the team and is there­fore also the basis for more productivity.
  2. Since most people spend the major­ity of their lives at work, the taboo around men­stru­ation must be broken there as well.
  3. Cycle aware­ness is a super power and can uncover the true poten­tial of all employees!

Men­stru­ation as the key to greater well-being and productivity

Future-ori­ented com­pan­ies that value their employ­ees should sooner or later approach a new philo­sophy of well-being. Every­one should be enabled to work under optimal con­di­tions. More well-being in a team also means more pro­ductiv­ity and cre­ativ­ity for the com­pany. The goal is to develop and imple­ment a strategy that empowers the entire team and enables a more inclus­ive cor­por­ate cul­ture. The key to this lies in the con­sid­er­a­tion of the men­strual cycle. The men­strual cycle is an import­ant part of many employ­ees and these exper­i­ences should not be ignored. It is import­ant to develop a strategy that does not per­ceive men­stru­ation as a bur­den, dis­ease or prob­lem, but accepts it as a nat­ural body pro­cess and strength. If we bleed, we are not sick. On the con­trary, it is a sign of our health! Cycle love instead of period shame. If this is pos­sible, then we are on the right path to nor­m­al­ising peri­ods at work.

Period-friendly cor­por­ate cul­ture? What really matters.

When devel­op­ing a period-friendly cor­por­ate cul­ture, com­pan­ies should make sure that they really listen to their men­stru­at­ing employ­ees and define the guidelines together. It is cru­cial for the later suc­cess of the meas­ures to act­ively involve the employ­ees from the very begin­ning in the design of the new, revolu­tion­ary period policy. This is the basis for a suc­cess­ful intro­duc­tion and effect­ive imple­ment­a­tion of the meas­ures. There will hardly be a one-size-fits-all solu­tion. It is always import­ant to bear in mind that we are all dif­fer­ent, and there­fore our needs and ideas for a period-friendly work­place as well. The cor­por­ate cul­ture should be designed in such a way that it can be flex­ibly adap­ted to the needs of the employees.

Peri­ods at work 2.0: A hol­istic men­strual strategy

And if you want to go one step fur­ther towards a period-friendly cor­por­ate cul­ture, (period) guidelines are only the begin­ning. It is import­ant that the meas­ures are brought together in a hol­istic period strategy. This is the only way to ensure that the meas­ures can be imple­men­ted cor­rectly and above all sus­tain­ably. From imple­ment­a­tion to mon­it­or­ing and eval­u­ation of the meas­ures, everything should be con­sidered. How­ever, a period-friendly cor­por­ate cul­ture in the form of ‘men­stru­ation policy’ should not become the fig­ure­head of a com­pany, but should be integ­rated incon­spicu­ously and smoothly into the over­all cor­por­ate cul­ture. It is only one dimen­sion among many, in addi­tion to aspects such as safety or health.

Best cases for a period-friendly cor­por­ate culture 

Period-friendly work­places are still often over­looked on the way to a more inclus­ive and inclus­ive cor­por­ate cul­ture. But com­pan­ies that adapt their oper­a­tions to the nat­ural body pro­cesses of their employ­ees notice improve­ments in well-being and increased pro­ductiv­ity. An example of this would be the com­pany ‘Coex­ist’ in Bris­tol, UK, or the star­tup ‘Forza Foot­ball’ from Gothen­burg, Sweden. Greater aware­ness of the cycle strengthens the employ­ees and thus the com­pany. So the ques­tion now is, what can we learn from these com­pan­ies if we want to cre­ate a cycle-friendly work­ing atmo­sphere ourselves? 

What comes next?

In the next few weeks we will pub­lish more art­icles on the topic of ‘Peri­ods at Work’ and provide con­crete tips and meas­ures for cre­at­ing a period-friendly cor­por­ate cul­ture. Per­haps you already have exper­i­ence with the topic and can tell us about it first-hand? Or do you have good ideas? Then we would be excited for you to leave a com­ment or send us a mes­sage.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Founder Vul­vani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vul­vani. She loves research­ing, writ­ing and design­ing new art­icles or innov­at­ive edu­ca­tional con­cepts about men­stru­ation all day long. When she is not trav­el­ling the world, she enjoys spend­ing time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.