Gender disparities in the workplace usually center around income inequality or glass ceiling inequities; however, men are less likely to fully participate in an employer-offered wellness program than women. A white paper written by the health services company Optum reported that women take advantage of workplace health screenings, weight management, health coaching, and web-based wellness programs more frequently than men. The survey reports men are more likely to get employer-sponsored flu shots and participate in smoking cessation programs. So, what steps can you take to engage men in your corporate wellness program?
Offer Time. Men cite workplace demands as an obstacle to wellness program participation. Encourage men to step away from work several times a week to participate in programs. Ask executives and managers to set the example by actively participating in programs and encouraging employees to do the same.
Provide Healthy Snacks. The CDC found that one in four workers consumes almost 1300 calories a week from free office food such as pizza, sugary snacks and sodas. The Optum study found that men are more likely than women to state that unhealthy food at the office is derailing their well-being. Provide healthy snacks that employees can grab n’ go or eat in their offices. Stock office kitchens with low fat, low sugar snacks, including fresh fruits, flavored waters and healthy, microwaveable foods.
Address Mental Stress. Men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues. Let employees know that mental health concerns are not a sign of weakness and create opportunities for them to seek help from mental health professionals. Offer programs that focus on stress management, anxiety and depression as men are more likely to participate in programs that address these issues.
Ask for Input. When developing your organization’s wellness program, ask men for input about the programs and activities they would like to see offered. Incorporating programs that meet the needs and interests of the men in your workforce will result in better engagement.
The team at Wellness Workdays develops wellness programs for employees across the country that engage both women and men. Contact us today to learn more.