Men’s Health and Wellness in the Workplace

Men’s health concerns, including prostate and testicular cancer, mental health, diabetes, and heart disease, can hinder the wellbeing of a workforce. Men, in particular, are at risk of developing severe health complications due to waiting too long to address health issues.

Businesses can support men and their entire workforce by addressing healthcare concerns through routine medical assessments, wellness protocols, and education.

Learn more about the health risks for men and what employers can do to maintain the health and wellbeing of a workforce.

Movember Raises Awareness

The idea for Movember came about in 2003 when two mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slatterly, decided over a beer in Melbourne, Australia to try and bring the moustache back into style. The next year, they decided to make it a charitable event and raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). At the time, the check they donated to the foundation at the end of November was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received.

From 30 ‘Mo Bros’ in 2003 to over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sisters across the world in 2019, Movember has taken the entire world by storm. They are now the leading charity when it comes to men’s health.

The goal of Movember is to raise awareness about men’s physical and mental health, particularly when it comes to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and depression. They encourage men to visit their doctors regularly to increase early detection and diagnosis of cancer in the hopes of reducing the number of preventable deaths.

Men’s Health in the Workplace

Prostate and Testicular Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men across the world. If detected early, men have a 98% survival rate. If detected late, that survival rate drops below 26%. It is imperative that men take prostate cancer seriously, as any delay in having their prostate checked could be fatal.

Only men have a prostate gland, and it grows as men age. That’s not to say that prostate cancer only affects old men. It’s necessary for every man to have their prostate checked by the time they reach 50. African-American men, as well as men who have had a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer, must have their prostate checked by 45 years old.

Testicular cancer, by contrast, commonly affects young men. Men with undescended testicles at birth or men who have a family history of the disease are the most at risk. There is also an increased risk that the cancer could return in men who have previously survived testicular cancer.

There are several types of testicular cancer, the most common being the germ cell tumor. Testicular cancer begins with an unusual growth on one or both testicles. Detection of the cancer involves men becoming familiar with their testicles and regularly checking them for any abnormalities. It’s a highly treatable cancer, and the best chance for success is early detection.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Offer routine employee health checks that include cancer screenings
  • Provide educational resources on prostate and testicular cancer
  • Illustrate the importance of regularly checking your own body for changes
  • Provide additional supports to your aging workforce
  • Participate in Movember
  • Provide exit medicals for employees leaving your employ

💡 Employee exit medicals ensure an employee’s health has not been negatively impacted by the job they are leaving. They provide employees with a better understanding of their current health as well as potential health risks they should monitor. Learn about The Benefits of Employee Exit Medical Assessments.

Diabetes

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) estimates that “1 million Australian adults (5%) had type 2 diabetes in 2017–18, according to self-reported data from the ABS 2017–18 National Health Survey.”

Type 2 diabetes was more prevalent in men than women at 6% compared to 4%. It’s estimated that these numbers underestimate the prevalence of type 2 diabetes amongst Australians because the numbers only include self-reported data.

Picture 1.png Source: Prevalence of self-reported type 2 diabetes, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2017–18.

Diabetes Australia claims diabetes to be the epidemic of the 21st century. It is a huge challenge to the Australian healthcare system, and it can be avoided in many cases with preventative measures and early detection.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Offer routine employee health checks
  • Provide educational resources on the risks of diabetes
  • Prioritize physical activity (sports, using the stairs, etc.)
  • Reduce sedentary behaviour at work
  • Encourage employees to take breaks and lunches outside of the office for daily movement
  • Have healthy snacks available in the workplace (vegetables, nuts, etc.)
  • Provide healthy lunches in the workplace
  • Participate in National Diabetes Week (Summer)

💡 Diabetes can dramatically impact a person’s functional capacity, which can influence their ability to work. Learn about the risks of Diabetes in the Workplace, including how to prevent and manage it at work.

Heart Health

Heart disease is any condition that affects the structure or function of the heart. It encompasses many heart conditions, including heart attacks, heart failure, angina, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrest, and valvular heart disease.

The Australian Heart Foundation says, “One-fifth of Australians aged 45-74 years are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.”

Talking about health inside or outside of the workplace can be difficult for men, but it is vitally important for their wellbeing. Men who are at risk of heart disease may not notice their symptoms until it’s too late. 51 lives are taken by heart disease every day in Australia. Many of these deaths can be prevented by recognizing and addressing the signs of heart disease.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Offer routine employee health checks.
  • Provide extra support for an aging workforce.
  • Provide employees with information on how to prevent and diagnose heart disease.
  • Make healthy choices when providing workplace meals.
  • Offer free healthy snacks at work (fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.)
  • Support physical activity inside and outside of the workplace (taking the stairs, playing sports, etc.)
  • Participate in Heart Week (Spring).

💡 Reduce the risk of heart disease and the number of lives lost to it with increased awareness and proper precautions. Learn how to Take Care of Your Heart Health at Work to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease.

Mental Health

Physical health gets more of a spotlight, but mental health in men is just as important to speak about. Men with mental illness are less likely to receive mental health treatment than women, yet men are more likely to die by suicide than women.

Speaking to someone is the first step, and for men, it can be especially difficult. This is often due to a culture that looks down upon men who express vulnerability. Men are less likely to admit to struggling with mental illness because they fear they will be seen as less masculine. However, mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of gender. Men who remain silent about their own mental illness are putting their lives at risk.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Offer routine employee health checks
  • Provide educational mental health resources
  • Reduce stigma in the workplace by supporting anyone with mental health concerns
  • Participate in Mental Health Week (October)
  • Offer wellness days that employees can use to support their own mental health

💡 A routine health check, along with empathy in the workplace and educational awareness, can help minimize the stigma around mental health. Give your team every advantage when it comes to both physical and mental health.

The Importance of Employee Health Checks

Ongoing employee health checks are beneficial to both employees and employers. They help identify potential employee health risks to minimize and manage concerns in the workplace. An employee health check covers a range of check-ups that are each designed to identify risks to the health and wellbeing of your workforce.

Routine health checks can discover developing health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, so employees can begin getting the help they need as soon as possible. The sooner a health risk or potential health risk is found, the better equipped the employee will be to manage or recover from it. Employee health checks also present an opportunity for employees to address the state of their mental health, which can be more difficult for men.

Give your employees every advantage you can by providing them with thorough and routine medical assessments.

Routine health checks support a healthy workforce by:

  • Reducing injury absenteeism
  • Reducing illness absenteeism
  • Improving company morale
  • Supporting an aging workforce

💡 Why an Annual Medical Could be the Best Investment Your Business Makes

Workplace Health Resources

Workforce Health Assessors supports workplace health through pre-employment medicals and ongoing employee health checks. WHA organises, performs, and reports on medical assessments to help businesses mitigate health risks. We handle everything from pre-employment medicals, drug and alcohol screenings, to workplace wellness initiatives. Learn more about our employee health checks and other health assessment services.

Continue Supporting Your Workforce

Sedentary lifestyles lead to many health problems, including excess body fat, increased blood pressure, and high blood sugar. Learn how to Reduce Sedentary Behaviour at Work.

In an office environment, fatigue can cost businesses both time and money, while in more dangerous industries, fatigue can increase the risk of injury and accidents in the workplace. Learn how to Prevent and Manage Symptoms of Fatigue in the Workplace.