It’s time to face facts about men’s health at work

May 31, 2023

Here are the facts: men dedicate a substantial portion of their lives to the workplace, clocking in more hours than their female colleagues. Concurrently, men also confront the onset of serious illnesses much earlier than women, with heart disease striking them on average ten to fifteen years in advance. Alarmingly, statistics reveal that one in five male colleagues won’t even make it to retirement age.

HR professionals, it’s time to face the hard truths. A staggering 75% of men are grappling with weight issues, walking the precarious path of obesity. In addition to this, middle-aged men are twice as likely as women to confront Type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, unhealthy eating habits and excessive alcohol consumption are more prevalent in men, further exacerbating the problem.

Whilst societal expectations around gender roles are slowly shifting, deep-seated beliefs that men must exemplify strength and sacrifice their health for work still persist; just because the modern breadwinner might not always be the man of the house, it doesn’t mean male colleagues are relieved from the pressure of neglecting their own well-being. Regrettably, these outdated notions of masculinity contribute to the glaring disparity in men engaging in healthcare, with men significantly trailing behind women in doctor visits and pharmacy consultations.

But here’s the bright side: a growing body of compelling evidence suggests that workplace health initiatives not only resonate with men but are also highly esteemed by them. So, if you thought a mere “how are you?” would suffice, it’s time to rethink your strategy and take concrete action with these game-changing steps.

The Men’s Health Revamp

Workplaces are uniquely positioned to entice male staff with free health checks that are so straightforward to access, they can’t refuse. By emphasising that they should get everything checked regularly, just as they would with an annual service on their car, companies can effectively normalise the concept of health check-ups.

Grant dedicated time off for well-being programmes and health checks—it’s a small investment that can yield substantial returns. Even better, bring the health checks to your workforce by offering convenient drop-in appointments right at the office. After all, convenience breeds compliance.

Ignite the Competitive Spirit

Studies have shown that men possess an innate sense of competition. It’s time to harness this drive and transform it into a force for healthier habits. Launching a steps challenge or a team run club on popular platforms like Strava can provide the perfect motivation for embracing an active lifestyle. Let the friendly rivalry commence!

Introducing cutting-edge digital health app, Peppy, where men can take on challenges such as the Food Prep Challenge and the Push-up Challenge. With innovative tracking features and expert guidance, Peppy ensures men stay engaged, accountable and constantly pushing their limits. Say goodbye to mediocrity and hello to achieving personal bests!

Language, please!

Let’s face it: the term “mental health” doesn’t always resonate with men. It’s time to speak their language and address the issues they face directly. Burnout, stress, anger, and overload – these are the terms that hit home. By using this terminology, we can bridge the communication gap and encourage men to take charge of their mental well-being.

Break the silence

Imagine a workplace where men can freely express their emotions, a place where conversations about mental well-being are not only welcomed but celebrated. Charitable organisations like Movember and CALM are leading the charge, providing workplaces with invaluable resources, event ideas and conversation starters that tackle male mental health in a lighthearted and engaging manner. Companies should encourage managers and men who hold senior positions to speak about their own health experiences to create a culture of openness.

Keep it confidential

Cracking the code for men’s health becomes infinitely more achievable with the confidential chat feature on the Peppy app. Time off for appointments, sitting in doctor waiting rooms and face-to-face are no longer necessary, employees can simply send a chat message to an experienced men’s health expert, just as they would message a friend. Saying, ‘Actually, I don’t feel great’ can feel much easier over text than sitting across from someone. Could this be the answer to engaging men who might otherwise ignore their health problems?

Tackle the Beast: Behaviours and Addiction

The immense stress of long work hours combined with pandemic-induced lifestyle habits has led to an alarming increase in alcohol consumption. In fact, drinking to excess increased by a massive 21 percent during the first year of the pandemic. HR teams play a crucial role in supporting colleagues who are grappling with substance abuse and addiction. Business leaders can help by signposting resources and support groups that they can access at the touch of the button – so support is at hand even when there’s temptation to go on a blowout. These narratives have the power to resonate with male staff who may be hesitant to attend workshops or seek help.

Unleash the Power of Emotions

Society’s expectations often paint a picture where men express their emotions through aggression, frequently misconstrued as anger. Employers hold the key to helping male employees manage stress by providing access to talking therapies and sleep support. To cultivate a workplace culture where it’s okay not to be okay, those in positions of authority must lead by example. Managers and business leaders, it’s time to show your team that it’s acceptable to have off days and that anger and aggression aren’t the most effective outlets for letting off steam. Embracing openness will ultimately benefit the entire workforce.

Embrace the Flexibility

Offering staff the flexibility to control their hours or embrace a four-day workweek empowers them to escape the relentless “always-on” nature of modern work. It’s an opportunity to recharge and prioritise their well-being. Not only does it grant them the freedom to attend health checks, but it also provides them with ample time to participate in health and well-being programmes. Let’s make flexible working the cornerstone of a healthier work-life balance.

In Conclusion: A Call to Action

The issue with men’s health isn’t a lack of interest; it’s about ensuring they have access to the right support at the right time, delivered in a manner that resonates with them. Organisations must step up and move away from the outdated one-size-fits-all approach. By doing so, we can save lives and revolutionise men’s health, starting right in the workplace. Discover how Peppy Men’s Health can empower and support your workforce today.

Men's Health
Women's Health

Expanding inclusion: Addressing the overlooked stories of women left behind

Achieving true inclusion isn’t about grand gestures; it’s about the little moments and the individual stories. It's listening to "THAT Woman" – you know, the one who’s brilliant but maybe a bit misunderstood or overlooked at work. We should be giving her the mic and making sure we're all ears.


A decade too late? The hidden costs of menopause


Navigating silent grief: How employers can support employees through baby loss

Every year, an unsettling statistic resounds across the UK – at least 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. This striking number implies a significant portion of your workforce has, or will, experience this traumatic event. Our new research, conducted by Censuswide in partnership with the British Infertility Counselling Association and Fertility Matters At Work, with over 1000 employees, delves deep into the subject, bringing to light the scale of the issue as we explore in this article. This is Baby Loss Awareness Week, there's no better time for employers to address and provide the needed support for this heart-wrenching loss.


How to help new parents return to work after parental leave

Navigating the transition back to work after parental leave is a journey filled with excitement, anxiety and a host of unexpected challenges. The real experience of returning to work is often more complex than policies and guidelines can capture. Here's an in-depth look at the unspoken realities and how employers can provide the support new parents truly need.


The long road to PCOS diagnosis

Over 1 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). But is this just another period problem for women to learn to live with, or is the long and complex road to diagnosis something employers should be doing something about? 

Men's Health

Men matter: Addressing the impact of male fertility on business

From our school days, we're taught about the 'birds and the bees' with an unmistakable emphasis on female fertility, when in fact male-factor infertility makes up around 50% of all cases. In our modern age, it's astounding how this outdated narrative continues to dominate not just societal discourse, but also workplace health policies across the globe. It's time we rebalanced this equation. Men's fertility is an integral part of the reproductive story and needs equal attention and support.


Miscarriage in the workplace – the do’s and don’ts

Experiencing a miscarriage is massively traumatic, both physically and emotionally, with long-term feelings of grief and loss. Whether you’re a close friend, family member, colleague or line manager, this is a difficult issue to tackle. But it needs to be tackled – with sensitivity.


Why Businesses Can’t Afford NOT to Support Menopause