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15th Jun, 2022

Jack Ireland
Jack Ireland
Job Title
Content Marketing Executive

Early stage cancer diagnosis fell by a third in the first coronavirus lockdown and that shortfall has continued. Macmillan Cancer Support says around 50,000 people have missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic.

It’s just one of the reasons why – as part of Men’s Health Week, which runs from 13-19 June – men are being urged to have an ‘MOT’.

But like dogs and Christmas, men’s health should not be an issue confined to one small part of the year. Businesses need to ensure they have up to date and relevant health and wellbeing initiatives which, most importantly, are adaptable for employees.

Over time, men’s health has become more prominent as education around the subject has grown and developed. In the workplace, it is imperative action is taken to make sure men get the support they need.

The problem has never been around a lack of interest shown from male colleagues, but more to do with insufficient knowledge around the subject and how to access to the right health support, at the right time, tailored in the right way.

According to Men’s Health Forum, men spend far more of their lives in the workplace than women and are twice as likely to work full time. With this in mind, employers need to make sure appropriate support is available in the workplace.

Awareness around men’s health continues to rise. Recent research by workforce health provider Peppy shows over two-thirds of employers offer support in the workplace specifically for men. But more can be done to allow male colleagues to feel supported at work.

Here are some of the steps businesses can adopt to improve the health outcomes of the male workforce.


There is a stigma around men’s health that many consider to be ‘old fashioned’. Removing it will start the process of ensuring male colleagues receive quality support. Many companies already offer a range of healthcare initiatives which men – and women – can access, but it’s vital that initiatives and programmes are communicated effectively to employees.

The question is, do employees know healthcare support exists?

Making sure all health initiatives and campaigns are signposted correctly, promoted successfully and are easily accessible to employees will have a positive impact on the workforce.

Changing the language

Health is a sensitive subject. Talking about it in a way that does not make it feel like an individual is failing or is losing control is paramount to reinforcing positive messaging.

Utilise words and phrases that puts the individual back in control of the situation. It may be worth signposting to solutions that will benefit employees who are struggling. The focus needs to be on what employees can do to enact positive change, rather than labelling an initiative based on what they might be facing.

In England, around one-in-eight men have a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. But the problem, when it comes to tackling it, is that the term ‘mental health’ carries a stigma that sees men suppress their emotions.

When male colleagues talk about health, they tend to lean towards causes such as anxiety, stress, anger, and overload. Therefore, using terms such as ‘stress’ and ‘burnout’ rather than ‘mental health’ can be more beneficial in communication.

Leadership and upskilling

Leaders must create a workplace culture where it’s okay to not be okay and demonstrate good practice from the top. When senior leaders encourage healthier behaviours, it promotes a sense of togetherness.

Managers and business leaders need to show their team it’s okay to be open about any struggles they may be facing. Openness will benefit the entire workforce. Having initiatives where employees can talk openly or release stress through improving their health and wellbeing will positively impact their feeling of value.

Making sure managers are upskilled will allow them to spot signs of poor mental and physical wellbeing in men and allow a greater focus on prevention interventions. Ensure they are aware of resources or initiatives they can signpost staff members to.

Adaptability of working patterns

Centring men’s health initiatives in the workplace around improvement is not only effective at engaging male colleagues, but also further enhances how valued they feel. According to Oxford Academic, men respond well to health support designed and delivered specifically for men.

Working conditions changed drastically during the pandemic. Giving employees time off, alongside allowing for flexible working specifically around wellbeing programmes and health checks, will increase the likelihood of them prioritising their health moving forward.

Offering flexibility over working hours, or allowing a four-day week, will enable employees to counteract the ‘always-on’ nature of work and, ultimately, recharge. Continuing to put employee wellbeing at the forefront of company culture can lead to improved confidence, productivity, and motivation.

Invest in personal and professional development

A way of maximising employee output and continuing to monitor their health and wellbeing is to show an interest in their personal and professional development. This is a great way to build trust among staff, demonstrating a company is invested in its people and their long-term career goals and personal growth.

Carrying out development opportunities for employees not only improves their morale, confidence, and knowledge, but also can positively impact their career prospects.

The best way to do this is by regularly providing staff with training opportunities. Training can be related to job skills that need to be developed, but it can also be completely focused on personal development opportunities to enhance employee satisfaction at work.

Increase awareness

Awareness around men’s health can be increased in multiple ways.

Studies from Harvard Business Review show how men can respond positively to competition in the workplace. Starting a step challenge or running team are examples of how to encourage healthy habits with a competitive edge.

Digital health apps are also available, which are designed to support male colleagues, offering challenges ranging from food preparation to time spent stood rather than seated.

Consider appointing a specific men’s health champion, where they can encourage employees of all seniority to openly share their thoughts and experiences through articles, events or through conversations in the office.

An environment where men can open up about their feelings will help normalise conversations around mental wellbeing. Confidential, private conversations with an expert makes addressing health issues considerably more feasible for male employees.

There needs to be a clear focus on healthcare and creating an environment where men feel seeking help is both the right and the appropriate thing to do. Inclusivity is an essential part of company culture and employee experience, so it's important that approaches to health and wellbeing consider remote, hybrid and full-time onsite employees.

To enhance your employee wellbeing offer, start a conversation with one of our Reed Wellbeing experts today.