Making it easier for men in the workplace to take better care of themselves is more important than ever. With one in five (19%) men in the UK dying before the age of 65, it’s time to take men’s healthcare needs more seriously and ensure that it is pushed as equally as any agenda targeting women.
For employers wondering if men’s health is a topic that needs to be highlighted, here are some statistics that may change your perspective.
- 67% of men in the UK are overweight or obese
- Men are twice as likely to suffer from liver disease
- Middle-aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes
- Men account for three-quarters of premature deaths due to heart disease
Why are men’s healthcare services underutilised?
The answer to this can be found in the position that men have come to have in many societies and these stoic masculine stereotypes are gradually becoming outdated. While strength, toughness, and self-sufficiency no longer define the ideal male, it still remains a barrier to those trying to access the healthcare system.
The Cleveland Clinic, for instance, reports that 65% of men do not seek medical care or prolong receiving care citing reasons such as being too busy, feeling weak, and believing that their health issues will heal by themselves.
How can men’s health be prioritised in the workplace?
Whether you have employees working at the office or working from home there are many initiatives that employers can implement to keep men in the best shape.
As a whole men are often perceived as being resilient and needing less emotional support than women. These stereotypes can make their way into the workplace with managers being far more likely to ask female employees how they’re coping with their work over men.
One of the vital ways in which this can be transformed is by encouraging managers to carry out ‘check-in chats’ with male employees covering areas such as health and wellbeing instead of simply making the time to talk about targets.
While conversations like these can seem a bit awkward at first, more men admit that a supportive manager helps them stay healthy. They can even be motivated to seek help should their managers suggest it rather than if they were left to ask for support themselves.
From emotional health and weight problems to not getting adequate sleep, men face many challenges. Encouraging them to make simple changes can empower them to take control of their health.
For instance, your male employees may cap off their week by going to the pub for a few drinks with their colleagues and even though they know they consume too much alcohol they may not give it up because it’s their only form of social interaction.
Encourage them to think about limiting their alcohol intake or having a mix of alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks which can help them improve their health while also building social connections.
Similarly, if you have employees who are struggling to get adequate sleep you can suggest digital curfews or limit screen time to encourage more sleep. Men who are eating unhealthy can try preparing healthy meals in batches to avoid the allure of junk food.
The key to helping men prioritise their health is to give them the motivation to think about making a single achievable goal that they can put into practice.
Accessible wellbeing support
Today there are a number of health and wellbeing services such as physiotherapy to virtual GPs that cost less to fund than covering the cost of employee absence. When used as a preventive measure, it can help put men’s healthcare at the forefront and lower the risk of health issues arising.
Many of the health problems that concern men—such as heart disease and cancer—are non-communicable and therefore have subtle to no symptoms during the early stages. Having the necessary regular check-ups can help detect and control these illnesses before they become life-threatening.
You can even provide ‘wellbeing days’ where men can get their cholesterol and blood pressure checked and make the necessary lifestyle changes to help control adverse health conditions.
Mental wellbeing is another important topic that is often the most taboo topic in men’s health as many actively avoid having conversations that may put their emotional strength into question. Giving them access to specialists that can provide the required assistance and guidance can be a great option.
Final thoughts on men’s healthcare by Kinhub
Data shows that men are far more at risk when it comes to alcohol or drug dependency, heart disease, and diabetes. Suicide also remains a major cause of death as its three times more common in men than women.
A common theme in the discussion on men’s health is the reluctance to seek help when they need it. Employers who give access to men’s health experts can help provide the critical proactive support that male employees need to prioritise their health.