Globally, there is a growing concern about the impact of long Covid on people who have had coronavirus in the past. As a Clinic, we believe it is something that employers may need to factor into their health and wellbeing strategies as people return to a more formal workplace setting as restrictions lift.
Research has told us that around two million people may have long-lasting symptoms of coronavirus, known as “long Covid”. It’s been established that there can be over 200 symptoms of long Covid that are impacting individuals even after they have completed their quarantine.
The most common symptoms are:
- Post-exertional malaise (people’s health worsens after physical or mental exertion)
- Brain fog
Our patients have explained to us that they don’t feel well enough to work, expressing being tired, taking prolonged sickness or disability leave and even quitting their jobs due to being unable to work due to illness. Many have required a reduced work schedule.
As such, employers need to prepare for the potential impact that long Covid may have on the health and wellbeing of their workforce, and how that can affect their business. Employers should be encouraged to understand the symptoms of long Covid and the affects it may have on their teams, whilst also putting in plans to manage long Covid in the workplace.
As an employer there are things you can do to support your staff
- Consider flexible working arrangements
Many employees welcome a return to the office after so much time working from home (for most people). However, those suffering with the long-term symptoms of coronavirus may not feel the same way. Dealing with symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness and brain fog can make spending a whole day at work challenging. Employers could look at providing a more flexible work structure and support their staff as far as possible. This could include flexible working hours, phased return to work, continuing to work from home and occupational health support.
- Do you have the right employee benefits in place?
Do your staff have access to virtual / in-clinic GP appointments?
Do you provide your staff with mental health / wellbeing support?
Many employers are questioning whether they’re providing enough support for their team members outside of the office. Now can be a good opportunity to assess your current benefits package and remind employees of the support available to them.
- Ensure line managers understand
It’s been noted that a lot of individuals do not feel comfortable when talking to their line managers as they don’t feel they would understand. Line managers play a key role in the daily working life of their employee, it is crucial for them to understand the impacts that long Covid can have on a person and be empathetic to that. As an employer, you could offer support to ensure they’re familiar with the signs and fluctuating nature of long Covid.
Some of the above are simple ways that can have an effective impact on your workforce, showing your support of their condition is the first step in making real change happen within an organisation. Doing a little can go an awful long way and we’re sure your staff will be grateful whatever you’re able to do to support them through what can be a really tricky time.
Our Consultant Psychologist works closely alongside our Private GP’s when it comes to managing long Covid. With Private GP Appointments from £85 and Psychology Consultations with Dr. Linda Barker at £240.