Men often wait too long to talk about poor health to bosses

New survey says male workers need to speak up earlier or risk more serious illness.

male health work

Portrait of a sick entrepreneur blowing in a wipe at office with a lot of used wipes on the desk

A large number of male employees wait until a health problem becomes severe before talking to their line manager or HR department, according to a new poll.

Two-fifths of the employers surveyed by digital health platform Peppy said one of the main issues when dealing with men’s health in the workplace is their unwillingness to seek help in the first place.

This often leads to long-term disruption that could potentially have been avoided.

But men said a culture where being ill was seen as a weakness, lack of male-specific issue support and a paucity of role models were amongst the reasons why they felt uncomfortable speaking to their boss about their poor health.

“It’s not uncommon for male employees to make claims about ‘never having had a day off work’ or ‘not having visited a GP since they were young’,” said Dr Mridula Pore, CEO of Peppy. “But this could mean serious conditions are missed. In the context of the workplace, we need to encourage men to get support as soon as they have any concerns or show symptoms. These early interventions can prevent an illness becoming more severe and ultimately mean less disruption for the employer.”

Increase engagement

Forty-five per cent of employers said they currently offer workplace support for men’s health, while a further 20% are planning to introduce it within the next year. A lot of this is online however, which comes with caveats.

“Employers must offer the right type of support and it needs to be both convenient and give assurance,” said Dr Pore. “A tech-based solution ticks many of the right boxes but it will not be effective unless it is communicated regularly to increase engagement.

“We need to prevent men from having any excuse to delay discussing symptoms, particularly as fitting a GP appointment around work can be difficult and many feel uncomfortable divulging health concerns directly to an employer.”

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