Periods at work: Do we need a period-friendly corporate culture?

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 The neglect of the period is part of outdated structures designed for non-menstruating employees.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.

The look into your cycle

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May 21, 2020
Britta Wiebe ist die Co-Gründerin von Vulvani. Am liebsten recherchiert, schreibt und konzipiert sie den ganzen Tag neue Artikel oder innovative Bildungsformate rund um Menstruation. Wenn sie nicht in der weiten Welt unterwegs ist, genießt sie ihre Zeit mit lieben Menschen im schönen Hamburg. | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

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