As we approach International Men’s Day on November 19th, let’s delve even deeper into supporting men’s wellbeing in the workplace. At Virgin Incentives, the corporate arm of Virgin Experience Days (UK) and Virgin Experience Gifts (USA), we understand that championing a supportive, inclusive work environment is not just a choice; it’s a commitment to the holistic well-being of your team. Join us as we explore the challenges men face, how they intersect with their careers, and practical steps to foster a healthier workplace culture.
The Unseen Struggles: Mental Health Matters
In an era where mental health conversations are gaining momentum, it’s pivotal to acknowledge that men navigate unique challenges, often overshadowed by societal expectations. The stigma around men’s mental health can be a roadblock to open discussions and genuine well-being
Recognizing the Stats
Globally, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, a stark reality that cannot be ignored. In the UK, a staggering 74% of suicides in 2021 were committed by men. Despite increased awareness and support avenues, the reluctance to ask for help persists, due to feelings of shame and guilt.
The Workplace Impact
A person’s mental health can have a huge effect on their day-to-day life, and the workplace serves as a significant obstacle. High work volumes, coupled with low resources and career stagnation, contribute to poor mental health. As employers, it is our duty to create an environment that not only shows recognition but actively supports every individual, irrespective of gender.
The Weight of Stereotypes
Traditional ideas of masculinity inadvertently contribute to countless challenges for men in their professional lives. The expectation for guys to be assertive, independent, and stoic can create a self-stigma, making it tough for them to admit they need a helping hand in their struggles.
Changing the Narrative
Redefining masculinity in the workplace is essential. We encourage you to promote vulnerability, courageous leadership, and balanced mental health. In doing so, we empower men to seek help and contribute to building a workplace culture that celebrates authenticity and helps with supporting men’s wellbeing in the workplace.
Navigating Career Pressures
As we continue our exploration, it’s crucial to address the career-specific pressures that men often grapple with. The societal expectation that men should be the primary financial providers for their families places an additional burden on their shoulders.
Career Stagnation and Well-being
Stagnation in career growth, coupled with precarious employment, significantly impacts men’s mental health. Research indicates that men experiencing lower job security or earning less than their peers are more likely to face mental health challenges. As employers, let’s address these issues with great support ideas—mentorship programs, transparent career convos, and the promise of career growth!
Balancing Parenthood and Careers
The traditional gender roles ingrained in society has meant that some companies discourage men from actively participating in parenting duties. Creating a workplace culture that not only supports but encourages men to share parental responsibilities fosters a healthier work-life balance. Flexible working arrangements, parental leave policies, and allowing time off for family emergencies contribute to a more supportive environment.
Taking Action on International Men’s Day
Following a deeper understanding of the challenges men face, let’s explore actionable steps for HR teams and employers.
1. Inclusive Policies:
Ensure that your workplace promotes progressive attitudes around masculinity. Inclusive policies pave the way for men to feel comfortable sharing parenting duties and challenging harmful stereotypes.
2. Break Down Stigmas:
Challenge the stigma associated with men’s mental health. Encourage open conversations, show vulnerability, and portray help-seeking as a sign of strength and leadership competence.
3. Educate and Inform:
Knowledge is power. Equip your team with information about mental health—its symptoms, treatments, and the importance of seeking help. This empowers individuals to take control of their emotional well-being.
4. Addressing Career Pressures:
Acknowledge the career-specific pressures men face. Implement programs that support career development, mentorship, and transparent communication about progression to alleviate the mental health impact of job insecurity.
5. Fostering Work-Life Balance:
Encourage a healthy work-life balance by supporting flexible working arrangements and encouraging taking time off for family responsibilities. Acknowledge and celebrate men who actively engage in parenting duties.
6. Implementing Employee Resource Groups:
Establish employee resource groups focused on mental health and career development. Creating safe spaces for open conversation can help men share experiences and support each other in navigating societal expectations.
When it comes to supporting men’s wellbeing in the workplace on this International Men’s Day, let’s break free from stereotypes, champion mental health, and build workplaces where everyone feels seen, heard, and supported. Together, we can create a positive impact that extends beyond the workplace, shaping a world where the well-being of every individual is made a priority. Here at Virgin Incentives we are all about fantastic and memorable employee rewards that the men in your company and enjoy with their family, find out more below: