The aftermath of Long Covid, and the full impact on employers, will only become fully apparent when employees return to the workplace,
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “While we’ve been living with the pandemic for a long time now, the situation regarding Long Covid is complex and still emerging. It’s likely that some employers will not really know how badly their staff have been affected until they start to return to the office.”
Employees who are feeling the most severe effects of Long Covid may be well-known to employers, however, employees who are only starting to realise the effects of Long Covid may have been battling through symptoms – such as fatigue – without alerting their employer. Once they start returning to the workplace – with the associated commute and more stressful daily environment – this may unravel the wellbeing of these employees and put additional pressures on both them and businesses.
Christine Husbands continued: “A complication of Long Covid is that it’s not a static condition – symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, and vertigo can improve and relapse causing some employees to feel that they are unable to cope.”
Support for a changing condition
Relying on generalised advice isn’t enough for Long Covid: everyone is different, so it’s vital that support is personalised: it’s important to get to know the person, their symptoms, their working environment and their capacity to work. Support needs to include help for specific symptoms – both physical and mental – but also advice on pacing and rehabilitation, as well as on returning to the workplace.
Employees benefit from advice in navigating wider support from their GP, the NHS, Long Covid clinics, local support groups, specialist therapies, second medical opinions as well as additional support within employee benefits.
Husbands continued, ‘By helping employees through Long Covid, employers are actually helping themselves in returning their workforce to full strength and capacity as much as is possible – and this is going to be a vital aspect of living with Covid-19.”