Who this has worked for

See how our flexible approach has worked for some of our people


Liz's story

Tech Project Manager and Career Returner

"Having decided to return to work, I came across Women Returners, a company that run 'returnship programmes'. I love working in technology, so the O2 opportunity was too good to miss!

During the 11-week programme, I received training, a mentor and I worked in The Lab as a technical project manager. It's been a fantastic experience and I've worked on a feasibility project, and the delivery of a Smart Home VR experience. That's in addition to organising and hosting workshops, mapping our current processes and recommending improvements and producing a comms plan.

It's given me a good variety of work, and an opportunity to work with a range of people. I've learnt a lot about myself, thanks to the feedback from the people I've worked with, and the variety of the projects.

My advice to anyone who has had a career break, is that no matter how long it has been, you don't lose the core aptitude and abilities that led to your career before the break. Returning to work has been an exciting adventure, and thanks to the O2 Returnship Programme, I'm considering brand new options.



Judith's story

Diversity and Inclusion Manager and Phased Returner

As the Diversity and Inclusion Manager, a huge focus of my role is increasing O2's gender balance, retaining female talent and increasing our pipeline into senior roles. 

I returned to work after 11 months out of the business to have my first child. Those 11 months were a huge learning curve! All my structured plans and key milestones went out the window and instead I discovered resilience (yes you can survive on 4 hours of sleep!) and the art of effective negotiation.

However, as the countdown to my return approached, I felt panic and lost confidence. Could I switch my work-brain back on, would my baby manage without me and would I manage without him?

This is where the maternity phased return came into its own. The first 2 weeks back, I worked a 2-day week. I met my colleagues and took information in and then returned to my other job as mum making sure my baby was OK. The following 2 weeks I worked a 3-day week and by the end of week 4, I was up to speed with my role and ready to transition to my 4-day week working pattern.

Now, 6 months in I'm a pretty good juggler of conference calls, nursery drop off, visiting the duck pond and switching to talk to our senior leaders about driving our diversity agenda.



Ann's story

HR Director and Diversity Advocate

We're never ashamed to bang a worthy drum, so when HR Magazine asked Ann Pickering, our HR Director for her views on Diversity & Inclusion, she had plenty so say on the subject.

You can read the full article here. Below are a few highlights and Ann’s views on trends for 2017.

D&I is about... democratising opportunity

  • Let's build a country that works for everyone
  • Let's raise the aspirations of the young through initiatives such as Social Mobility Business
  • All businesses have an essential role to play in democratising access to opportunity
  • O2 is one of just 11 companies within the Compact's 200 members to retain its champion membership – this is a result of a longstanding commitment to opening up the right opportunities for people across the country
  • We strongly believe that diverse teams make for happier and more productive individuals – and above all, they deliver for our customers.

D&I is about... making gender irrelevant

  • In 2017, it would be great to see businesses challenging themselves to find new and better was of promoting gender within their organisations.
  • O2 will be building on its efforts to attract even more women in senior roles through the Careers Returners programme by inviting 2 further groups to join the scheme.
  • We're also working on a much broader programme to support the existing female talent within the organisation, while continuing to strive to attract more young women into tech.