The immediate effects of Covid-19 are widely known. But less is understood about the long-term implications of the disease. Now, new research has revealed how most employers are offering support to employees with Long-Covid, including virtual healthcare services, employee benefit programmes and flexible working arrangements.
While Covid-19 symptoms for most people are mild and pass relatively quickly, some will suffer long-term effects and have to deal with symptoms months and even years after their initial illness. Long-Covid is the term used to describe this reality.
Long-Covid symptoms include a persistent cough, breathlessness, fatigue, headaches and heart-related issues, such as palpitations or an increased heartbeat.
According to the Canada Life research, which surveyed 20,000 UK adults, of the one in 20 who tested positive for Covid-19, 65% went on to experience symptoms associated with Long-Covid.
Figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on June 4 showed that over one million people in private households throughout the UK were experiencing self-reported long Covid.
Covering the four-week period ending May 2, the statistics show that of the total number of people reporting Long-Covid symptoms, 869,000 first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 at least 12 weeks previously, and 376,000 first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 at least one year previously.
There is good news, though, for the vast majority of employees suffering with Long-Covid, with the Canada Life research revealing that 93% of individuals with Long-Covid have been offered support from their employers as they return to work.
This support ranged from the ability to access virtual health and wellbeing services (37%), to work more flexibly (32%) and working reduced hours (32%).
Speaking about the findings of the research, John Kendall, Canada Life rehabilitation consultant, said: "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.
[Related reading: Pandemic Or No Pandemic, Virtual Healthcare Is Here To Stay]
The symptoms and impact of Long-Covid can significantly hinder an employee’s ability to do their job. As this research shows, 65% of people who receive a positive Covid-19 test go on to experience Long-Covid. For these individuals, employer support is crucial, which is why offerings like virtual healthcare services, employee benefit programmes and flexible working arrangements can play such a vital role.
To find out more about employee benefit programmes, including how offerings can be tailored for your individual business and your employees, please get in touch.