O2 introduces menopause toolkit for managers

18 October 2019: O2 announces today on World Menopause Day that it has launched a toolkit for employees and managers to support individuals who are going through the menopause. As part of O2’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the resource ensures all managers are fully equipped to have conversations with employees going through the menopause, if they wish to discuss it.

The toolkit was developed and created by O2’s Women’s Network following a year of research into employee attitudes and needs, including focus groups and a staff survey. The resulting menopause toolkits offer advice for managers on issues such as how to recognise symptoms, tactful ways of starting a conversation on the topic and building flexible working patterns that meet the needs of women. Alongside the toolkit, O2’s Women’s Network is recognising three ‘menopause champions’ internally who are available for staff to talk to in confidence.

Women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing group in the workforce. The average age for the menopause transition is 51, but a third of women do not disclose their symptoms at work due to unsupportive management, according to the CIPD. O2 is sharing the toolkit to encourage a more open and diverse working environment.

Ann Pickering, Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff at O2, said: “Menopause is often a taboo in the workplace, but it shouldn’t be. It affects 50% of the population and an increasing part of our ageing workforce. Everyone experiences menopause differently but offering flexible working patterns is one way of ensuring women feel able to cope at work, so it’s fantastic the Women’s Network has developed this toolkit. It’ll really help equip managers to have these conversations and build working patterns that work for women.

“Businesses like ours will only thrive if they reflect the society they are a part of, so ensuring women of all ages and life stages feel supported is the right thing to do.”

Vanessa Kilburn of O2’s Women’s Network, said: “Menopause has been on our agenda as a group since 2018. I’m proud that in just over a year we have been able to work with female and male colleagues to develop a toolkit that further creates an open environment at work.

“We are mindful that we are very much at the beginning of the conversation around menopause. But since launching our guides, we’ve run successful focus groups and this year have focused on normalising the word menopause in O2. We want this phase of life to be easy to talk about, and for everyone to understand and support colleagues. We’ve lots more planned for National Menopause Awareness Day today too – let’s keep the conversation going.”

Progressive employment practices

The menopause toolkit builds on a series of moves by designed to ensure O2 is an inclusive, open workplace. In April the company increased the amount of paternity leave it offers from two to 14 weeks. This updated Family Policy was introduced to ensure all partners have the support and flexibility to spend valuable time with their new family. The extended paternity policy covers heterosexual and same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate partners. Then in May, O2 announced a transitioning toolkit for managers, developed in partnership with LGBT charity Stonewall and designed to help conversations with colleagues going through, or considering, a gender transition journey.

About O2’s Women’s Network

O2’s Women’s Network group was formed in 2004 to encourage equality in the workplace by creating a network of dynamic, professional women achieving their business and personal goals through support, inspiration, development, networking and well-being.

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