Research by digital health platform Peppy suggests this lack might lead to companies losing some of their best talent.
Male health inequality threatens to be exacerbated by a quarter of employers not offering male-specific health support in the workplace.
Despite calls for a government-led men’s health strategy to tackle some of the gender inequalities in healthcare, the poll results suggests employers shouldn’t wait for this to make a difference to the holistic health of male employees.
Helen Lake, Director of Men’s Health, at Peppy said: “We would, of course, welcome a Men’s Health Strategy but in the meantime, employers do not need to live with the status quo. Resources are available for employers to improve the holistic health of the men within their organisations right now. We know that a gender-focused approach is necessary and it’s not overstating things to say lives could be saved if employers step up to help men engage more in their own physical, mental and nutritional health and wellbeing.”
In September 2021, the ONS reported the first decline in male life expectancy since the 1980s with suicide, health disease, cancer and diabetes being among the biggest culprits. The oft-cited reason is traditional masculine behaviours where men delay consultations with healthcare professionals, often resulting in poorer health outcomes.
Over a third of employer respondents also recognised that offering men’s health support is important to reduce staff churn, enabling employers to retain healthy and productive employees and to avoid losing staff to competitors who are more forward-thinking in this area.
Discreet, holistic health support provided via the workplace is particularly good for men as it makes getting help more accessible and less of a significant undertaking for the individual.
Employers looking to offer men’s health support in the workplace need to consider the best method of delivery. Digital solutions, in particular, are often more inclusive and convenient, enabling men to have conversations discreetly, and often anonymously, which is often preferred, particularly initially. However, having the opportunity for human interaction can become more important, particularly if a diagnosis has been received. The best men’s health support will not just deliver support from one practitioner, it will be a whole team of experts who work together to get to the root of issues.
Helen Lake said, “Men are more likely to bury their head in the sand when it comes to their health and wellbeing, so generic health messages can get ignored or overlooked. By supporting men’s health with dedicated and accessible support, employers are better able to raise awareness of specific illnesses such as male-specific cancers, heart disease or diabetes, as well as other more general health concerns including diet and exercise. Employers who support their male employees with a gender-focussed approach, increase the chance of their staff getting better outcomes and having a happier, healthier workforce.”