Did you know that, compared to women, men suffer more serious health conditions throughout their life?
What’s more, their life expectancy is shorter too. Women in the UK live on average for 83 years. Men, however, die four years earlier, at the age of 79.
There are several reasons for this. Some have to do with anatomy and hormones, with some conditions being solely male diseases. But there are lifestyle factors too, and societal pressures that impact the decisions that men make about their health.
As such, men face health challenges that their female colleagues do not. Moreover, the culture of toxic masculinity discourages men from opening up about their problems and seeking help when they need it. This can impact every aspect of their life—from their personal relationships to their professional lives. Which means, as their employer, you also feel the impact of their health issues.
Men’s health in the workplace: why it matters
Did you know that men spend longer in the workplace than women? They’re also twice as likely to work full-time.
It’s worth having a conversation about whether these are positive or negative behaviours. However, when it comes to men’s health, they are facts you shouldn’t overlook, even should the situation change in the future.
Now, consider the fact that they’re less likely to talk about their mental health problems. Making it harder to recognise when their performance issues are due to attitude or capabilities, or if there’s something more serious going on.
How you can support men’s health in the workplace
It’s not going to be easy to spot when your men are experiencing mental health issues. Furthermore, they could be experiencing symptoms of serious physical issues, and either be unaware, or reluctant to pursue medical intervention.
Make sure your men are happy, healthy, and productive. And don’t forget about your trans and non-binary employees, as men’s health issues will affect some of them, too. It’s crucial therefore that you make your workplace a more inclusive environment for men’s health issues—for all employees who experience them.
Promote a wellbeing culture
Your men will have some unique health issues, such as testicular and prostate cancer. There are also conditions that are more common among men, due to the lifestyle choices they make.
For example, men are more likely to suffer from:
As for mental health, men are less likely to seek treatment, so it’s hard to know the exact number suffering from common conditions like depression and anxiety. However, they are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. Meaning support for their mental health issues is clearly lacking.
Promote a wellbeing culture for both mind and body within your company. Encourage open conversations around the common health issues that affect men. You could engage your employees in fundraising initiatives for Movember, for instance. Or shine a spotlight on men’s mental health issues during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Appoint men’s health champions
Your men may not be ready to talk about their issues with medical professionals. But they might be ready to talk to another man within your company. And that could be the first step to them pursuing diagnosis and treatment.
Men’s health champions are men within your company who help other men experiencing health problems. They’re not health professionals, but they do receive training, so they can better support any man with physical or mental health issues.
Research shows that men’s health champions do make a difference, with men in the workplace valuing this informal approach. But ensure that whoever you appoint as your champion is right for the role—they must be good listeners and have a strong sense of empathy. After all, your men will be experiencing a range of issues. It’s crucial they feel heard, supported, and never judged.
Foster workplace communities
One in five men admit to not having any close friends. Furthermore, one in three say they don’t have a best friend.
While loneliness isn’t gendered, men find it more difficult to forge social connections due to the vulnerability they must exhibit in order to do so. So, if your men don’t have regular interactions with their colleagues too, they may be at risk of loneliness.
Set up regular company get-togethers that encourage your staff to get to know one and another. You could also dedicate a channel on your messaging platform for social interactions. So, your men can reach out virtually, no matter where they’re working from.
Provide support for both mind and body
Some men struggle to recognise the symptoms of their physical ailments. And when experiencing mental health issues, they’re less likely to pursue therapy than women.
As their employer, you are uniquely placed to provide them with information on common health issues that affect men. You can spotlight prevalent conditions in your company newsletter, for instance. Or, you could stream personalised resources over your health and wellbeing app, so they can get the information to support their specific concerns.
Then, give them access to the care they need. The ability to easily book GP appointments might encourage your men to take that important first step towards treatment. And, having a discreet way to access counsellors and helplines could make all the difference to those experiencing mental health issues.
Make your men happier and healthier
Your men might seem invulnerable. But there’s more going on beneath the surface, impacting their home lives and their professional lives.
Make your company a place where they can let their guard down. And make it a place where they know they’re supported, both for their physical ailments and their mental health.
Symbio is a holistic health and wellbeing solution that your men can easily and discreetly access on their phones. It will provide them with articles and guides to help them make better lifestyle decisions. And it will give them access to the clinical services they need when they’re ready to pursue treatment for healthier bodies and minds.
To discover how Symbio can make your workforce healthier and happier, book a demo.