A Bristol-based company is introducing a ‘period policy’ for its female workers, based on the idea that paying attention to employees’ monthly menstrual cycle can be “good for business”.
Social enterprise company Coexist plans to let women have extra time off during their period, and tap to their employee’s natural cycle to create a “happier and healthier” working environment.
Women will be encouraged to go home if they feel unwell, and talk openly about their periods, synchronising their workload with their bodies.
Director Bex Baxter and her team
The policy, which will be put into place on 15 March, follows the ethos that women are up to three times more productive in the days after their period has finished, but can have less energy when they are menstruating.
“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,” Bex Baxter, a director at Coexist told The Bristol Post.
“Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell. And this is unfair.”
Baxter told HuffPost UK that she wanted the mainly-female business to go beyond the idea of periods as a “problem” or “sickness”.
“They’re completely natural,” she said, “and it”s the best guidance women are given on how to use their energy and their creativity, and it can be powerful for wellbeing and also powerful for business to use that. When a woman is in her ‘spring’ phase immediately after a period she can do the work of three women.”
“Naturally, when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies,” said Baxter.
“The spring section of the cycle, immediately after a period is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.”
The ‘period policy’ will make the office more productive, Baxter says
The menstruation policy will be created during a ‘Pioneering Period Policy’ event which Coexist are encouraging other business to attend to design their own period policy.
It will feature a talk from Alexandra Pope, a leadership coach who advocates “menstruality”, the practice of setting women’s physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing in the context of their periods.
Harnessing these rhythms – and even going home when they don’t feel well – can mean that women are “more employable” than men because their work will suit their bodies, Baxter claimed.
Women will not have to take time off during their periods if they don’t want to, she said, stressing that the policy would be “choice-based” and days off won’t be not mandatory.
The company says taking days off will be optional
Coexist is a community venue for artist studios, offices, and events spaces.
Baxter told the Bristol Post: “We work on a triangle ethos of ‘trust, love and play’, so everyone at Coexist respects the company and gives more than 100 per cent to their work, so I don’t think we will have an issue with people deceiving us.
“Also, it is not mandatory, women do not have to take time off on their periods if they don’t want to.
“I was talking to someone the other day and they said if it were men who had periods then this policy would have been brought in sooner.
“But we just want to celebrate and start talking about menstruation in a positive way, rather than the negativity which has shrouded the cycle.
“I remember my grandma telling me to go and look in her left hand drawer where I’d find everything I needed, and then it was never spoken of again.”