As more is learned about the symptoms and effects of ‘Long-Covid’ research by Canada Life has revealed that the majority of employers are helping to support their colleagues.
Around 1 in 20 people surveyed had received a positive test for Covid-19, of which 65% went on to experience symptoms associated with Long-Covid. Almost all (93%) of those surveyed with long-Covid who work full time said they had been offered support by their employer as they return to work. This ranged from the ability to access virtual health and wellbeing services (37%), to work more flexibly (32%) and to reduce working hours (32%).
Long-Covid symptoms can vary widely from prolonged breathlessness and fatigue to joint pain and ‘brain fog’. Little is currently known about how long the symptoms last but a recent ONS survey revealed that 376,000 have experienced them for at least a year2.
Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director at Canada Life comments on the research:
“The effects of the pandemic have wreaked on the nation’s workforce, either financially, mentally or physically. For a significant amount of people who have contracted the virus, they are left with a number of potentially very debilitating symptoms, of which little is known, although more is being learned every day.
“In these cases it is essential that employers display understanding towards any employees reporting symptoms and it is reassuring to see so many offering support services and flexibility to their affected colleagues. These relatively simple measures can go a long way towards someone’s rehabilitation and help take the pressure off their road to recovery.”
John Kendall, Canada Life Rehabilitation Consultant, reflects on his own experiences during the pandemic:
“This research really backs up what our nursing team are seeing at ground level.
“The symptoms associated with long-covid are relatively common such as breathlessness, fatigue and joint pain. Thankfully for most incapacity is relatively short, normally around three to six months, but some people experience a slower recovery requiring patience from all parties.
“Employers have risen to the challenge and in the vast majority of cases are offering support to help get their employees back to work. This should be a collaborative approach between the employer and employee. Adjustments may need to be made to their working hours or workload, perhaps allowing them to continue working from home, endorsing lighter duties or even just more concerted communication to ensure any worries or concerns are dealt with promptly. With the opening of long-covid clinics and with medical research evolving continuously, we hope to see more robust support for individuals moving forward. Ongoing employer support and understanding is going to be crucial.”