Coexist, a UK-based start-up incubator, is recognizing the painful realities their female employees face when working through menstruation with a new 'period policy' initiative. The policy would allow women to take off time from work without counting it as part of their allotted sick days.
Hey dad, hold off on that rant about Millennial entitlement so you can hear out what Ben Baxter, Coexist's director, explained to The Guardian.
I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.
And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain – no matter what kind – they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognizes and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.
Coexist employs 31 people, 24 of whom are women. They manage the Hamilton House in Bristol, which offers work spaces for artists, activists, and community groups. One of their goals in being the guinea pig for this workplace flexibility program is to clear up misconceptions about time taken off meaning a loss of productivity, and even argue that the opposite is true.
Naturally, when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies.
The spring section of the cycle immediately after a period is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.
It's not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves. If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that’s got to be good for business
*Insert "winter is coming" joke here* The company took to Facebook to clarify that they've not yet implemented the policy, but are holding an open seminar on March 15th to hammer out the specific details.
What do you think?