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The long-term health implications for individuals recovering from COVID are not yet fully understood. Post-COVID syndrome, or Long Covid as it is often referred to, is where an individual suffers symptoms following an infection consistent with COVID-19, which last for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis (NICE guidelines 2020).

It is important that staff suffering from Long Covid, or other chronic health conditions, are supported when returning to the workplace. Individuals with severe symptoms may be unable to return to work immediately and managers should maintain contact with them. Individuals who are able to return but are reporting symptoms may need additional support as set out in the University Sickness Absence policy.

This support may be in the form of specialist medical input for individuals who have recovered from the virus but have ongoing health issues. Support is also available from the Staff Counselling Centre and/or Occupational Health Service:

  • The Staff Counselling Centre can provide one-to-one support as well as workshops on topics ranging from stress and anxiety to wellbeing and enhancing resilience in relation to long-term health conditions.
  • The Occupational Health (OH) Service can provide impartial advice to individuals and their department regarding the nature of health problems and the impact on work.


Measures that can help to facilitate an individual’s return to productive employment

Some of the measures that can help to facilitate an individual’s return to productive employment may include the following adjustments:

  • A phased return to work (PRTW), to help with enabling an individual to return to their productive work when fatigue, acute and chronic symptoms and cognitive function issues remain a feature. Regular reviews during the PRTW are helpful to monitor progress with recovery and consider modifications to the PRTW if necessary.
  • Flexible working arrangements including:
    •  A combination of home and office-based work.
    •  Adjusting work hours so as to avoid travelling at peak times.
  • Time off for rehabilitation and medical appointments.
  • Using management strategies such as regular rest breaks, temporarily reducing workload, help with prioritisation of tasks and encouraging gradual increases in activity.
  • Adapting work tasks based upon clinical symptoms particularly for physical work and removing or adjusting manual tasks.


Further advice

Further advice and information on Long-Covid can be found via the following links:


Date first published: 28 May 2021