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by Staff writer

Supporting the returning workforce post-covid

As part of our ongoing programme of events and initiatives responding to new forms of adversity presented by the pandemic, today we will be looking at what has come to be known colloquially as ‘long covid’. This phenomenon of post-COVID19  chronic illness is faced by a significant proportion of those who are understood to have otherwise overcome the difficulties of COVID-19, and the numbers only continue to grow as different effects and issues are discovered and reported, some of which can be incredibly enduring and debilitating.

The result of this can mean a real physical and emotional impact not just for the survivors themselves, but also friends, family and the groups and workforces those survivors are part of. This is especially so for places of work where several employees are suffering these effects. This is most keenly felt by businesses which rely on small-to-medium sized workforces, particularly with regard to the care and support of those for whom ‘long covid’ is a challenging reality.

Lianne Marie Mease has prepared the following article to detail the necessary steps to ensuring the wellbeing of our workforces. At the end of the article, we will be sharing the details of an event at which we at JSA Psychotherapy can directly help you to achieve this.


It is common knowledge by now that Covid 19 is likely to cause chronic physical health conditions for those who have contracted and survived it. This ‘long covid’ has been the source of necessary discussions among employers and occupational health practitioners about how to appropriately accommodate Covid survivors in their return to work.

There have been far fewer questions asked about the necessity of accommodating the mental health needs of these employees, as well as those who did not contract Covid, but have nonetheless suffered other issues under quarantine.

The Health and Safety at work act 1974 states explicitly that employers are responsible for the emotional wellbeing of their employees, mandating a duty of care to ensure they are fit to work both in terms of their physical and mental health. Obviously, the most pressing demand at this time is to support them with the necessary resources to facilitate a smooth, safe transition to business as usual.

Our experience in the field of mental health assessment for the courts and private sector leads us to believe that part of this transition process for employers should involve considering the ongoing impact of what their employees might have endured during the last 12 months. The tremendous amount of change that has accompanied it has instilled a total reframing of perspective for many people that is difficult to resolve. Disruption to these prior assumptions will have had a significant impact on employees’ mental health.

When conducting return to work interviews, we would encourage any employers reading this article to consider whether any of your employees have faced the following challenges during lockdown:

  • Shielding and/or caring for elderly relatives
  • Coping with financial instability
  • Having a lack of childcare support or factoring in home learning
  • Feeling over-stimulation from increased use of video conferencing software
  • Experiencing intense periods of social isolation
  • Struggling with a lack of routine
  • Prolonged periods of anxiety and fear
  • Grieving for deceased relatives

It’s surprisingly common to respond to the hardships of distressing events like prolonged quarantine by experiencing a sort of grief, even if no bereavement has been suffered. The feelings of loss, confusion and alienation inherent in processing the worst parts of the pandemic can be experienced in a similar way to the model of recovery we would typically associate with a grief cycle. Expert knowledge imparts that the this sequence of numbness, shock, denial, anger and acceptance must finally be resolved by accommodating the loss we have experienced as we return to normality.

It may be the case that employees you have identified as struggling in one way or another may still be feeling numbed or angry, and need some further external support to settle these feelings before they are fully fit for work again. This is especially relevant considering that each of the individual periods of lockdown may have triggered its own separate grief cycle, with distressing events in an earlier lockdown remaining unresolved by the time another began.


How JSA Psychotherapy can help

We have created a 2-hour seminar designed for those who manage or employ a workforce and are planning for their return to work. It will help you maximise the wellbeing of your workforce to get back to business quickly and effectively, and help your returning workforce to move forward in good health.

If you believe that this would be beneficial to you or your team, you can book now at the following address: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/issues-for-the-returning-workforce-post-covid-tickets-145223520459

If you’d like to see more of Marie’s work, or get in touch with her yourself, you can do so at butterflump.com

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