Coronavirus is still circulating, and some people’s worries are still prominent.
One thing the pandemic taught us all, is that we must be flexible and agile. Whether it’s to accommodate flexible working, carry out communication through technological means or manage with absenteeism’s of employees who have coronavirus (or long COVID) and are too sick to work.
COVID-19 considerations for businesses today
Employers should still consider that their policies and rules ensure the workplace is safe for everyone. Things such as ventilation, workplace hygiene and the use of screen barriers to keep everyone safe.
For information and Government guidance, visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The HR Dept Coronavirus Hub
We have an area on our website which is dedicated to Coronavirus news updates, FAQs, working from home tips, eLearning, webinars and much more. You can find it here https://www.hrdept.co.uk/coronavirus/.
What should I do if an employee is suffering from long COVID?
Long COVID can affect people for weeks – even years. Symptoms vary from person to person but can include:
- Fatigue, fever, and pain
- Breathing (respiratory symptoms)
- Heart and circulation (cardiovascular symptoms)
- Brain (neurological symptoms)
- Digestive system (gastrointestinal symptom)
- Joints and muscles (musculoskeletal symptoms)
- Mental health (psychological symptoms)
- Ear, nose, and throat symptoms
- Skin (dermatological symptoms)
Long Covid can in some circumstances be considered a disability and so you are required to make reasonable adjustments.
For employees suffering from Long Covid that is affecting their ability to work, having an Occupational Health report is the first step. The report may recommend a phased return to work, reasonable adjustments to their hours of work or increased rest breaks.
How can I make employees feel comfortable about coming into the office post-COVID?
After spending so long away from the office, you may want to start encouraging or asking your employees to come into work more often. But if some employees do not feel comfortable coming in, there are physical and psychological ways you can support them.
Physically – you can share your health and safety risk assessment showing the steps you have taken to provide a safe environment such as having hand sanitising stations, allowing people to wear masks if that makes them comfortable and having good ventilation.
Psychological – acknowledge and understand the anxiety that some employees will have. They may have spent a long time shielding if they are immune compromised. Consider increasing the frequency of one-to-one meetings which will give employees a chance to discuss how they are feeling. If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) you could use this to signpost people to other resources and information to help if they are struggling.
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