MEN'S HEALTH AND WELLBEING: MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORKPLACE & BEYOND
Before continuing with this article, please be aware that it mentions sensitive subjects around mental health matters, such as self-harm and suicide.
Saturday, 19th November, is International Men’s Day, and this is what the movement has to say.
“We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being.”
In a recent article, we gave you nine reasons why the mental health of your workforce, regardless of gender, needs to be a priority. However, November is about men’s health and the Priory Group have published alarming statistics about why it needs attention.
- 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health
- 29% of those who haven't done so say they are "too embarrassed"
- 20% say there is a "negative stigma."
The Gender Divide
The Good Men Project addresses many stereotypes, specifically that men are strong. We don’t have time here to define what is meant by ‘strength’ since it comes in many forms, but the hangover from this stereotype still exists.
Research suggests that mental health problems are more prevalent in women than men, with one in five women and one in eight men reporting suffering with their mental wellbeing.
Whilst mental health issues are more prevalent among women; research shows that they’re more detrimental to men. International Men’s Day seeks to raise awareness on this matter and change the narrative, and businesses can help with this too.
The Employer and Male Mental Health
32% of men state that work is the cause of their mental health issues, with finances and physical health close behind at 31% and 23%, respectively.
This research confirms what we preach here at Sodexo Engage: businesses must adopt end-to-end wellbeing initiatives to support mental, financial, and physical wellbeing.
However, before discussing the ideal wellbeing strategy, there are also ways businesses can make cultural changes that will have a positive impact.
Movember is a great way to create awareness and make positive changes in the long term.
Communication starts from the top, and business leaders must have open and honest conversations about mental health. Open the door, remove the stigma, and ensure the men in your business aren’t suffering in silence.
Create A Safe Space
Once you've opened the door, keep it open. Put regular meetings in your employees’ diaries where they can talk about stresses and worries with well-trained, empathetic managers or HR professionals.
Workplace stress is too often cited as the cause of mental health issues and absences. It’s harmful to the employee, business, and economy, yet employers can alleviate it.
The statistics show that men are more likely to remain silent until the situation becomes unmanageable. Ensure your line managers have regular check-ins with their teams to review workload, removing causes of excess stress as much as possible.
Get more for less from your wellbeing strategy
The best thing a business can do is incorporate a wellbeing strategy that supports physical, mental, and financial wellbeing since all these areas are interlinked.
If an employee with financial worries already suffers from excess stress, it will peak and potentially lead to a mental health-related illness. Likewise, an employee already suffering from poor mental health will be less able to navigate additional financial worries.
There’s also a connection between mental and physical health – it’s all linked together, and your wellbeing strategy should reflect this.
If your business is starting at the very beginning, let’s look at mental wellbeing. Creating a culture of trust and support through honest communication is a significant step, but it has limits. However, an Employee Assistance Programme will give your employees access to face-to-face counselling by BACP-accredited counsellors and e-mail and phone support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Tweaks to workplace culture can make a difference to the physical health of employees. For example, encouraging your teams to leave their desks and go for a walk at lunchtime will boost their physical and mental wellbeing. However, you can take this to the next level by offering a corporate gym membership.
It’s been reported that 42% of Britons have cancelled their gym membership during the cost-of-living crisis to reduce their ‘non-essential’ outgoings. A corporate gym membership would give your employees up to 25% off their annual membership fee, making exercise, a trip to the sauna – time to boost their physical health and mental wellbeing – affordable again.
One way your business could fund this benefit is through a cycle-to-work initiative. As an employer, you’ll save up to 15.05% on National Insurance payments with every employee that purchases a new bike via this salary deduct scheme.
Put the final piece of the strategy in place by helping your employees’ salaries go further. Our recognition prepaid and cashback card (Spree) is a versatile and empowering way to boost your employees’ financial wellbeing.
Offer Spree as an employee benefit by adding an amount each month, as part of your reward and recognition strategy, or as a mechanism for delivering cost-of-living payments. Once it’s in the hands of your employees, they can use it wherever Visa prepaid is accepted and earn up to 15% cashback at a vast range of participating retailers. Your business can choose not to add funds at all, encouraging employees to top up themselves.
Make Positive Changes this International Men’s Day and beyond
As we’ve discussed, positive change starts with a focus on company culture, open doors, and compassion. However, employers are in a position where they can make a significant impact on the wellbeing of their employees – and these steps need to be taken.
A robust wellbeing strategy will boost your employee value proposition, performance, engagement, acquisition, and retention. More still, on a human level, you’re showing the people that give their all for your business that you’re ready to support them however they need it during the cost-of-living crisis and beyond.
Contact Sodexo Engage today to make the wellbeing strategy you want to incorporate a reality.