Shine WW has been in business for almost three years now. In that relatively short space of time we’re proud to have helped a growing number of businesses improve the health and wellbeing of their staff. However, while the number of businesses we’ve worked with has increased the same cannot be said about the number of conversations we’re having with men around employee wellbeing.

The last three years have seen me pitching, presenting, meeting, calling, zooming (is that a verb now?) to a much higher percentage of females. I’m not complaining in the slightest, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more men heading up – or being more active – in such initiatives. There are exceptions of course and a few of our clients have men of all levels actively involved in this area; but they are in the minority.

I’m often conversing with HR personnel who are predominantly female and I’m also increasingly speaking to internal wellbeing leads or asked to join internal wellbeing committees to provide an external perspective. Even these roles or the makeup of such teams and committees are 90% female.

And the recent Wellbeing for Working Dads and Mums sessions we’ve been running – which have been very popular – were also mainly attended by Mums. Despite our concerted push to get more Dads involved when we noticed the regular disparity.

Hence I want more men to get involved in any aspect of employee wellbeing. To dispel any preconceived notions, those involved in this area don’t sit around and meditate or discuss at length how they are feeling today – at least not the activities and programmes we’re involved in. 

This is about finding solutions to making employees healthier and happier – and as I’m sure you know, crack that and the chances are your business is going to perform better. But perhaps because of the gender imbalance, some of the things men may find contributes positively to their wellbeing can be overlooked.


Is football wellbeing-related?

Take 5 a side football for example. One survey we ran with a client (always anonymous) drew a number of disgruntled comments about the removal of financial support for the company’s team. We fought hard for it to be reinstated in said client’s revamped employee wellness programme.

But because there isn’t that instant association between football and wellbeing, it took some convincing. However, it’s back (or of course it was pre-COVID) with six or seven blokes from the company getting together once a week for some physical exertion, a drink afterwards and social interaction, strengthening work relationships. But not only does it do this, it also develops an appreciation from these employees to the company for subsidising the activity, strengthening the employer-employee bond. This could even lead to a greater discretionary effort at work from those involved – but we’ll cover that topic in another post! 

However such an activity is so beneficial for the participants’ wellbeing and if that wasn’t wholly apparent then, I think it is now due to the pandemic.

Because that’s one good thing to have come out of this turbulent time. It accelerated the conversation around mental health and made those who weren’t already aware, that mental health does not exist in isolation and there’s so many factors contributing to our mental health.

Because of COVID we appreciate (or at least I hope we do) that we need to exercise more, get good sleep, to break bad habits, have structure for most days, and importantly, to create boundaries between work and home life. 


Lockdown positives

Collectively (and unsurprisingly) we’ve realised that isolation and lockdown are pretty detrimental to our mental wellbeing. So with this new found appreciation for what makes us tick mentally and physically, I’m asking more men to get involved with their employee wellbeing schemes. To sit on committees and help shape programmes that will appeal to them and other men, and to share their stories about what they do to give their wellbeing a boost.

It doesn’t have to be about a recovery from a dark place mentally, it can be just as simple as sharing how being physically active has a positive impact on your mental health. And if you can’t commit to that, join sessions or workshops, particularly if you manage staff, or make time for your wellbeing and let them see you as a ‘wellbeing role model’. They are more likely to do the same and that should, as mentioned above, improve their performance at work.

Maybe you’ve got through the past 12 months relatively unscathed, but there’s no doubt others around you at work will have faced tough times. So boost your managing with empathy, your conversation skills around mental health, and your active listening. Again, it’s likely to boost overall team and company performance. 

I hope we see an increase in men getting involved in employee wellbeing as 2021 progresses. If you’d like to know more about how you could get involved in this area I’d be happy to have a chat with you or exchange emails. 

Photo credit: Helena Lopes.