Men’s health at work

While it’s not yet clear exactly why more men than women are being impacted by Covid-19[1], there is clearly a distinct difference between men’s and women’s health. For example, men are less inclined to seek help or advice from a medical professional. In fact, a significant 39% of men will wait until pain is “unbearable” before considering a visit to the doctor and over a third will wait three weeks, enduring symptoms before seeking treatment[2].

Other excuses might include a lack of time, the fear of being told there’s something seriously wrong, or they’re embarrassed about their condition or having a personal examination. Whatever the symptoms, not seeking medical advice or treatment early on can make early detection or prognosis of what could be a more serious health issue more difficult. Workplace health initiatives can help tackle this.

Natalie Rogers, Unum HR Director commented: “It is an issue that men can tend to shy away from seeking support or talking openly about their health while at work. Workplace wellbeing initiatives that effectively engage with men could have a positive impact and help to close the gender health gap”.

To help, Natalie Rogers, HR Director for Unum UK has shared 5 top tips to help employers better support their male staff when managing workplace health:

  1. Think about the language you use
  2. The correct use of language is extremely important in the workplace, ensuring no one is offended, embarrassed or pressured to discuss their health. Promote open conversations and identify a neutral representative at work (in addition to the line manager) who can offer support anonymously.
  3. Accessible information
  4. Signposts to online portals or website links enables individuals to get confidential information at a time that suits them. For example, GP helplines, available 24/7, mean medical services are available whenever they’re needed and can provide a level of anonymity, making it easier for men to broach sensitive issues they may feel uncomfortable talking about face-to-face.
  5. Support on-the-go
  6. While GPs are generally very supportive, it may take time for individuals to get an appointment due to lack of resource. Unum’s Help@hand offers employees with easy access to five key support services through one easy-to-use app, including mental health support, physiotherapy and second opinion services with a UK-based private consultant.
  7. Internal messaging
  8. Personalise health messages as much as possible to create a higher degree of relevancy but this should be done in a sensitive and private way so as not to cause embarrassment.
  9. Neutral Ground
  10. Ask employees what they are interested in and want to know more about to build a dialogue. Explore what similarities and differences there are between the genders and develop health campaigns to create an inclusive ground.

[1] https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/covid-19-statistics-england-wales

2 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/half-men-say-hate-going-gp-exactly-scared/

Author: Editorial Team

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