The company director believes it will increase productivity
Until now periods have been a huge taboo in the workplace. For a woman to admit that every month something occurs that makes it hard for her to concentrate (due to significant pain) seems akin to career suicide in some industries.
But gradually, as women win more and more leadership roles and succeed in previously male-dominated industries, companies must confront the issue of gender equality in the workplace, which means changing a culture that currently equates productivity with long hours in the office.
Social enterprise company, Coexist has launched the UK’s first ‘period policy’ a scheme that entitles women to extra time off during their period if they feel they need it. The idea is that by being more compassionate about how menstruation can affect women they can tailor a flexible working schedule that gets the best out of each employee and therefore benefits the company too.
Bex Baxter, a director at Coexist, told The Independent: “As a manager of staff I have seen women really suffer with their periods and I have found them doubled over in a lot of pain.
“They feel guilty and ashamed for taking time off and often sit at their desks in silence not wanting to acknowledge it.
“It started from there and we thought we had to see what we could do about it and try and break the last great taboo.
Baxter went on to stress that she believes it’s a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive:
“This is not about employees taking more time off but working more flexibly and efficiently around their menstrual cycle and encouraging a work-life balance.”
Baxter also explained that the time immediately after a woman’s period is when she is three times more productive than usual. So this leave scheme is about acknowledging a woman’s natural cycle and letting it lead how she manages her time in the workload and time in the office.
Coexsist has introduced this policy as part of the ‘Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles in the Workplace’ seminar which will take place on March 15 at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft.