supporting long covid recovery

Helping your employees manage with long COVID when returning to work

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When an employee feels ill, they generally call in sick. Pre 2020, this would usually have been for just a day or two. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, these ‘days’ have become weeks, or even months, causing a significant cost for many organisations.

Sickness during the time of COVID 

COVID has had a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and as an employer it’s important to understand to what extent this pandemic has had on employees.

Even if your employees were lucky enough not to catch COVID, they were all thrown into nationwide lockdowns. Then there’s those who did catch COVID and are still suffering now. This is referred to as long COVID.

What are the symptoms of long COVID?

Long COVID describes the symptoms and effects of COVID that last longer than four weeks. There are lots of symptoms, some of the common ones include1:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus or earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throats, changes to sense of smell and taste

Supporting staff with long COVID at work

It’s important to remember everyone reacts to COVID differently. And likewise, everyone recovers from COVID at different rates. But by supporting employees, and allowing them to recover at their own pace, you can actively contribute to removing the risk of a relapse.

Top ways you can support employees with long COVID2:

  • Have regular chats – find out how they’re feeling now they’ve returned to work.
  • Discuss workload – if their workload is causing them stress, discuss taking some away from them until they feel stronger
  • Offer flexible working hours – a shorter working day or a more flexible working pattern may help your employee settle back into the workplace.
  • Suggest a support group – a long COVID support group can offer ways to manage life with symptoms.  

Doctor Care Anywhere is at hand

Even if someone starts to feel better, there’s a chance they may not be out of the woods yet.

If you feel as though your employee could benefit from seeing a healthcare professional recommend that they book an appointment with their NHS GP, or a Doctor Care Anywhere clinician. 

Our clinicians are on hand 24/7 and can offer invaluable support and advice, helping your employees get back to feeling themselves. And helping your work force return to full force.


Last reviewed 1st August 2022.


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