Companies are paying the price for failing to fight the long COVID in the workplace

Hello, Amber here! Winter is right around the corner, and with that comes cold and flu season in addition to COVID-19. This period is even worse for those with long COVID, a debilitating chronic disease that has already cost between $170 billion and $230 billion in lost wages. Here’s what my colleague Paige McGlauflin had to say in an article this morning about the business implications of long COVID and best practices for helping affected employees return to work:

“If you’re an employer and you have someone on long-term sick leave, it’s very expensive,” says Clare Rayner, a retired consultant occupational physician in England who developed long-term COVID. Fortune. “But what’s different with COVID is that we have multiple people sick for a long time, all at once. This has never happened in my experience.

But there are solutions. Suppose a long carrier struggles to stand for long periods of time but works standing for hours. Employers can vary the time the worker spends standing and sitting and allow for adequate breaks and changes in position. “If you want to bring that person back in, you have to bring them in gradually and make adjustments,” says Rayner. The probability that a worker on sick leave will return to work drops by 50% from the twelfth week of absence. “You can’t leave it until somebody’s 100% because they’re never coming back.”

Despite the longstanding ravages of COVID and the pandemic on the workforce, there is good news: the participation of people with disabilities in the workforce has increased over the past two years thanks to remote and hybrid work offers. These same flexible arrangements can help retain long carriers.

Read the full story here.

Amber Burton
amber.burton@fortune.com
@amberburton

Journalist’s notebook

The most compelling data, quotes and insights from the field.

Some companies are reduced office space to avoid layoffs.

“From their perspective, it’s one of the basic expenses they have to deal with, and if in fact they can get rid of it in a way that keeps their own employees happier than before, then that seems logical all around,” said Arpit Gupta, associate professor of finance at New York University. Voice.

Around the table

– Young job seekers are increasingly prioritizing stability over anything else when looking for a job. New York Times

– More than 33 million Americans don’t have paid sick leave, and it’s prevalent in part-time, low-wage jobs. CNN

– Some laid-off tech workers take their massive severance packages and go on vacation. Initiated

– Against the trend, recent layoffs have hit white-collar workers the hardest. the wall street journal

– Burnout and stress plague the creative economy, indicating that the problem is not limited to office workers. information

Water cooler

Everything you need to know from Fortune.

Labor market, relentless. Employers are still hiring. The The United States added 263,000 jobs and saw wages rise 5.1% in November, according to the Labor Department. —Associated press

Zoom room. Employers are ditching open floor plans to recreate the peace of working from home in favor of quiet spaces. —Jeanne Thier

Be your boss. Many of those who left their jobs started their own business because, despite the risks, being an entrepreneur seems more attractive than the drudgery of office life. —Bradley Jacobs

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