Endometriosis Action Month at Hatch

Hatch team at an event with red and yellow graphic brush strokes

Guest post from Head of People and Operations, Suzi Lawrence

Suzi is the Head of People and Operations at Hatch, and responsible for ensuring that the charity is a positive, supportive place to work.

One of Hatch’s strategic goals is prioritising people: building an inclusive culture that supports, values and celebrates every team member’s personal and professional contribution, development and success.

Headshot of Suzi

At Hatch we’re proud to be an endometriosis friendly employer, something we have been since we signed up to the scheme run by Endometriosis UK in July 2022. But what does this actually mean and how do the working practices at Hatch support this?

Endometriosis is a long-term, chronic pain condition affecting 1 in 10 women and those assigned female at birth. Symptoms can include chronic pain, fatigue and fertility issues. It can impact upon well-being, ability to do certain jobs and work in certain ways – but is often ignored or treated with embarrassment or indifference, especially when it comes to the workplace and working practices.

Hatch programme graduate, Martha, explains her own experiences of endometriosis

Like many organisations we say that we value work life balance at Hatch. A major factor in staying true to our word on this is that we give autonomy to every team member as to when and where they work.  This enables everyone to achieve a working pattern and environment that blends with their personal life rather than encroaching upon it and means everyone can work however they are the most effective.

In practice this means flexible working – with every team member able to set their own working hours. Compressed hours and part time working are other options open to the team. We have an office that the team can use as much or as little as they wish and we have a very forward thinking hybrid working policy.

Hatch’s hybrid working approach provides team members with more options with regard to where, when, and how they work. It is based on the concept that work is principally an activity we do, rather than a place we go to. We manage by performance, based on measurable outputs rather than presence in the office. We look at each role individually balancing operational needs with individual preferences. With agreement you can work outside of the UK for short periods and we monitor our hybrid working arrangements to ensure that they do not have any unintended discriminatory impact. We trust our team explicitly.

We also have a generous and completely flexible holiday policy. We group our annual leave allowance plus the 8 UK national holidays into one pot which can be used entirely flexibly and you can take them whenever suits you. This means if you would like to book the national holidays off on the days they fall you can but if you would like to work through a bank holiday and take different dates off instead, that’s fine with us too. What makes working at Hatch work for our team, works for us too.

And whilst we all mainly work remotely this is also about us creating a work environment in which everyone feels supported and able to bring their whole selves to work – wherever that may be. In the past year we doubled the number of wellbeing days staff can take at their own discretion. We are always looking at ways to build on our positive culture and invest in ideas that bring real benefits to our team at every stage of their life. The Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme is one of those.

The Endometriosis Friendly Employer Scheme

The scheme covers three areas – a commitment to leadership and management support for menstrual health and wellbeing in the workplace; tackling stigma around menstrual health and adapting workplace culture; and communications/awareness raising of endometriosis, helping educate those within the workplace and beyond.

Since we joined the scheme in 2022 we have already campaigned for more awareness of endometriosis across our social media, held internal information sessions about where to access support, and named Endometriosis Champions within our team.

In raising awareness and tackling stigma associated with endometriosis and other menstrual health conditions we are helping all women (and those assigned female at birth) be able to thrive at work. This ties in with our ethos at Hatch of building a better world and a fairer society through removing barriers to access.

We know how important our flexible working policy is in ensuring Hatch is accessible to people with endometriosis, as well as other health conditions or caring responsibilities, and are committed to prioritising policies like these that put people first.

Join the Scheme

So if this sounds like something your organisation could benefit from, it’s easy to sign up to the scheme (and costs just £40 a year for small businesses).

Living with Endometriosis

"I think having a disability like endometriosis has made me a much more empathetic person. It’s made me understand that people are ill and a lot of people struggle with things, not just endometriosis, but mental health issues, with visible disabilities, and hidden disabilities. So as an employer, as I now am, that means that I’m more sensitive to the needs of my employees."
A headshot of Martha Bennett.
Martha Bennett
Hatch Graduate

Charities like Endometriosis UK can offer resources, support, and community to those living with endometriosis as well as workplaces and individuals looking to learn more. There are support groups you can access online, or across the whole of the UK, a helpline run by trained volunteers with lived experience, and themed monthly webinars you can access.

Find out more on their website.

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