Men's health at work: Creating a supportive workplace


Offering a customised private healthcare package that fits the needs of your employees is not just a benefit to them but a commitment to the productivity of the larger organisation. Men's health statistically is under-reported by those suffering from mental and physical illnesses, and under-represented in private medical insurance packages due to the resulting figures.

Men, in general, face unique health challenges, and these can be exacerbated in the workplace. Statistics reveal that men are less likely to seek medical treatment for physical and mental health issues, leading to delayed diagnoses and treatment. This reluctance to address health concerns can have severe consequences both personally and professionally.

The workplace, with its demands and stressors, can contribute to men’s health issues. Some common concerns include:

  1. Stress and mental health: Work-related stress, tight deadlines, and excessive workload can lead to anxiety and depression. Men often feel pressure to maintain a facade of strength and may not openly discuss their mental health concerns. As shown in NHS research suicide is the leading cause of death in men under the age of 50 [1].
  2. Inactive lifestyle: Office jobs often require long hours of sitting, contributing to an inactive lifestyle. Lack of physical activity can lead to various health issues, including obesity and cardiovascular problems. The British Heart Foundation research released in April 2023, shows that one in eight men in the UK die from coronary disease [2].

  3. Unhealthy habits: The workplace can be a space in which unhealthy habits such as poor dietary choices, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking can develop as coping mechanisms to extreme stress and long hours. Men’s Health Forum found that 20% of men don’t make it to traditional retirement age of 65, with the leading cause of death including cancer, suicide and cardiovascular disease [3].

How to support the men in your organisation

While many of us may assume that our response to stressful events is something we can easily control, this is not true. Many attributing factors to stress are beyond our control as they are directly attributed to other people and external factors. Some ways of managing stress and building resilience are not always available to all of us and the ways in which we deal with our own stress is a very personal process.

These factors make it more difficult to build resilience:

  • Long-term physical or mental health conditions

  • Experiencing discrimination, including racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism or religious intolerance

  • Isolation from family and friends support, especially for immigrants and those who live far away from their established support network

  • Poverty or money concerns, like debt or benefits problems

  • Living in an area without access to everyday services like healthcare, public transport, and green spaces

  • Living in an area with a lack of safety or protection due to a lack of policing 

Create an open culture

Encourage open and non-judgemental communication about health and wellbeing. Creating a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their physical and mental health concerns helps to remove stigma and encourage professional help when needed.

Organisations should provide resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for confidential support through connecting employees with mental health professionals. Digital wellbeing platforms form part of an EAP offering and can be vital in supporting employees through mental crises.

Support a healthy lifestyle

Implementing wellness programs that focus on physical health, such as gym access, fitness challenges, and ergonomic workstations help to encourage regular physical activity. Much like offering health food options in the workplace, such as fruit or nutritious snacks in the break room helps to promote a culture of mindful eating.

Prioritising preventative health measures, such as annual check-ups and screenings, can also contribute to a healthier and more resilient workforce. Many EAPs will include additional offerings such as smoking cessation and alcohol dependency support for employees looking for assistance in making healthier life decisions.

Prioritise education and awareness

Conducting regular workshops and seminars on men’s health issues can help to improve awareness and adoption of the assistive tools on offer within an organisation. Focus on sharing information about the importance of early detection and treatment of diseases to encourage the adoption of the health services on offer.

Providing access to and encouraging the use of regular health check-ups and screenings through virtual GP services and specialist referrals can help to reduce the delay in diagnosis that often causes more complications.

Workload management

The constant pressure to succeed at work can lead to neglect of personal wellbeing. Promoting realistic workloads and encouraging time management techniques can help to reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Consider offering flexible work hours or remote working options to promote a better work-life balance. A more structured balance between work and life can help to improve both mental and physical health concerns and create more time for employees to focus on the components of health that are often overlooked.

Mental health support

Challenging stereotypes of masculinity that discourage men from seeking help for their physical and mental health can help to create an inclusive environment where vulnerability is embraced and wellbeing is seen as a priority alongside physical health.

Creating a culture that removes any stigma around seeking help for mental health issues is essential. EAPs and access to counselling services can play a pivotal role in ensuring that men feel supported in managing their mental health.

Prioritising men’s health at work is not only a moral responsibility but also a strategic move for employers. A supportive workplace that fosters physical and mental wellbeing can lead to happier, more productive employees and lower healthcare costs in the long run. By creating an environment where men feel comfortable addressing their health concerns, employers can contribute to healthier, more resilient teams, ultimately benefiting everyone involved.

The most effective way of improving employee health is by offering healthcare benefits that directly assist employees with their unique concerns. To find out more about what makes a Healix Healthcare Trust perfect for the needs of your employees, click here.

While the statistics and findings above refer to men throughout, the information may also be relevant to transgender, non-binary and intersex people who do not identify as men.

  1. NHS England, Ruth Sutherland, Tackling the root causes of suicide

  2. British Heart Foundation, UK Factsheet April 2023

  3. Men’s Health Forum, Men’s Health Week 2023

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