How workplaces can improve men’s health

5 min

Whether you’re a small business, a big corporation, a not-for-profit or a freelancer — caring about the health of your employees is critical for productive and positive work. This is particularly important when it comes to men’s health as Aussie blokes make up the majority of premature deaths, have a lower life expectancy, a higher rate of suicide and double the rate of heart disease, to name a few of the health concerns disproportionately impacting them. Promoting wellbeing in the workplace requires a holistic approach that considers and addresses all facets of health in each individual staff member, and encourages a healthy workplace culture more generally. Here are some ways workplaces can promote good health. 

Encourage regular health checkups

One of the most effective ways to promote wellbeing in the workplace is to encourage regular health check-ups. Employers can partner with local healthcare providers to offer on-site health screenings for common issues such as hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol levels, which is particularly helpful for men as they report difficulty getting GP appointments out of business hours. These screenings can help in early detection of health problems and allow employees to seek help sooner rather than later. For workplaces, it can reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. 

Promote Mental Health Awareness

Mental health is a critical concern in many male-dominated industries, featuring established risk factors like isolated work, excessive or irregular workloads, poor physical conditions, lack of control and cultural norms that make men’s mental health difficult to discuss. It is critical that workers are protected on the job and that their employment doesn’t continue to impact wellbeing out of work hours. Employers should create a culture where mental health is openly discussed and provide resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and mental health workshops. Building mental health programs into your annual health and safety plans, rather than relying on one-off events, is critical for increasing normalisation and peer support across the workforce. Creating support groups or peer networks can also encourage men to share their experiences and seek help when needed.

Encourage physical activity 

Physical activity is vital for maintaining physical and mental health. Employers can promote physical activity by providing on-site fitness facilities or subsidising gym memberships. Encouraging participation in physical activities such as company sports teams, yoga classes or walking groups can also help. Additionally, promoting active commuting by providing bike racks or incentives for employees who walk or cycle to the office can contribute to a more active lifestyle.

Provide healthy eating options

Eating the recommended amount of the right foods can help lower your risk of many diseases and even early death. Employers can promote healthy eating by casting an eye over the vending machine and providing nutritious snacks in the office, offering healthy meal options in the cafeteria and organising cooking classes or nutrition workshops. 

Foster a supportive environment

Creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture is essential for promoting health. Employers should encourage open communication, recognise and reward healthy behaviors, and provide support for employees who are dealing with health issues. You can also create a healthy working environment by encouraging work/life balance, setting realistic work expectations, discouraging excessive overtime and promoting the use of annual leave. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks and providing spaces for relaxation and decompression in the office can also support a healthier work space.

Educate on specific health risks

Men face specific health risks such as prostate and testicular cancer, and are at higher risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of mental health issues. Employers can organise educational sessions that focus on these risks, teaching employees about symptoms, prevention strategies, and the importance of regular screenings. Providing informational resources and bringing in healthcare professionals to speak can also raise awareness.

Create a safe work environment

Workplace injuries are one of the largest contributors to the total burden of injury for men in Australia. Employers have a legal obligation to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their workers, which includes a first aid plan, an emergency plan, the “if you get injured at work” poster, training and instruction, an injury register, a workers compensation insurance policy and a return to work plan. Each state government offers free advisory visits and free workshops to help you maintain a safe workplace, and meet your health and safety responsibilities. A safe work environment not only protects workers from injury, it increases productivity, lowers running costs and improves morale.

Each year, around the world, Men’s Health Week recognises the importance of men’s wellbeing — not only for each and every bloke but the community that surrounds them. This Men’s Health Week (10-16 June) Healthy Male is educating men about the foundations of good health and encouraging them to start the habits that can help them improve it. Because good health doesn’t just happen, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Learn more about our Good Health Heroes campaign here and spread the word amongst your workplace.


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