How to Help Your Employees with Long Covid and Returning to Work

The vaccine roll out is underway, and spring is here

And things are beginning to look up. But what are the longer impacts of Covid?

There has been growing worries around Long Covid, with the ONS reporting that around one in five people who tested positive for Covid-19 had symptoms that lasted five weeks or longer and one in 10 had symptoms that lasted 12 weeks or more. There are also some people who experience severe ongoing symptoms nearly a year on1.

If your employees are returning to work after they’ve been diagnosed with Long Covid, you might be looking at what you can do to help your employees. From flexible working to phased returns, here’s some ways you can help your staff return to work...

 

What are the symptoms of Long Covid?

It’s important to make sure everyone in your company, including line managers and employees, know the signs and symptoms of Long Covid so they know what to look out for in themselves and their colleagues. According to the NHS, the symptoms for Long Covid are:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Feeling sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach aches
  • Loss of appetite

 

How you can help your employees return to work after long covid:

Changes you could offer your employees: phased returns to work, flexible working or reduced hours could help your employees get back to work and help them manage symptoms like fatigue. You could also look at more frequent breaks or longer breaks.

Adjusting travel times: for those of your employees who need to travel to work, adjusting the times they need to come in can help make it easier for your staff as travel can be quieter.

Educate your line managers: as well as knowing the symptoms to look out for, line mangers need to be prepared on how to have conversations with their employees, and what support is available for employees and how to access it.

Take everyone on a case-to-case basis: everyone will experience Long Covid symptoms differently, so it’s important for line managers and employees to have a conversation to help understand how the symptoms are affecting them, the impact on them in terms of work, and what support is available.

Make sure your policies are up to date: Covid-19 has caused changes to many companies’ sickness and HR policies to be updated, and Long Covid could as well. It’s a good time to review your policies to make sure they’re fit for purpose and reflect the new normal.

Remind employees what benefits are available to them: it’s important for employees to know what benefits are available, how they can access them and how they can help. Employee Assistance Programmes, for example, could support them with any mental health issues that have come up since they’ve been diagnosed with Long Covid as well as financial support if they need it.

 

How we can help:

We know it isn’t always easy to know how to offer a comprehensive staff wellbeing programme that benefits all employees. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees health and wellbeing, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your staff.

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Sources:

1ONS: Prevalence of Long Covid