While most health concerns can affect people of any gender, they aren’t always experienced in the same way, and there are some issues which affect men uniquely. As a manager, you’re well placed to help the men in your team keep on top of their health. Read on for our tips to help you do just that.
Encourage men to visit their GP or other health professionals.
Men are less likely to visit their doctor than women, but in general they also tend to be in a worse bill of health. Where possible, be flexible around times staff can get away for medical appointments. Model good behaviour, by keeping on top of your own health and getting any issues seen to.
Try to be aware of the support options which are available, and signpost men to these where necessary.
The common assumption is that men are less likely to acknowledge potential health problems – sometimes through a belief they’re not too serious, sometimes through a sense that doing so would be a sign of weakness. Make sure you know how staff can contact the occupational health, or HR department or employee assistance programme, if you have one.
Encourage conversations around health, especially mental health.
Incidences of common mental health issues like anxiety and depression aren’t any higher among men than women, however, men are less likely to talk about how they’re feeling and are less likely to receive psychological support. If you notice someone doesn’t seem themself, don’t be afraid to ask them directly if they’re ok. You don’t have to ‘fix’ their problems or know what all the answers are for what they’re going through, so don’t let this put you off starting a conversation. We have a tip sheet to help you start conversations around men’s mental health, which you can find here. We’ve also produced a tip sheet to help you support your colleagues and peers, which you can find here.
Give staff the opportunity to eat healthily and get moving at work.
Men are more likely to be overweight, and also more commonly experience serious health concerns where weight, diet, or exercise may be contributing factors.
Encourage staff to take their lunch break away from their desks, and where possible, provide a communal space where the team can have lunch together. Depending on where you’re based, there might not be many healthy options locally, so try to provide a fridge, microwave, kettle, and cupboard space so staff can store and heat up food they bring in from home.
For staff who have desk-based jobs, encourage them to get up and walk around the office from time to time, to reduce how long they spend sitting down. Keep an eye out for any exercise programmes that your team could get involved with or start one of your own. It could be something as simple as a Couch to 5k or Step Count Challenge.
Watch out for alcohol.
As well as consuming almost double the number of units per week, men are twice as likely as women to be drinking alcohol at a harmful or hazardous level. Try not to base your work social events around alcohol – think about going for a team meal instead of going for team drinks. Encourage staff to get help with their drinking if they need it, you can find suggestions of support in this video.
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