Susan Gee: Yorkshire Water has support in place for employees with long Covid

Supporting employees with long-Covid symptoms is an emerging challenge for employers as the symptoms are varied, with some being more easily recognised than others. For example, breathlessness, fatigue and cognitive impairment appear to be common.

At Yorkshire Water our approach to supporting employee health has always been person centred, and while occupational health and HR policies are standardised to an extent, each person is uniquely assessed to determine what specific support they may need.

Early referral to occupational health is expected and the company has two HR advisers dedicated to supporting managers and employees with Covid-19 related issues.

Yorkshire Water also has a rehabilitation policy that allows an employee to return to work over a 12-week period; during that time the employee can work significantly reduced hours and have their duties adjusted to accommodate their physical and psychological capability, which may include being temporarily moved into an alternative role.

There is extensive support available, including referral to a range of talking therapies including CBT/DBT, access to the Altogether online forum, and an employee assistance programme provided by Westfield Health that extends to an employee’s family and our contract partners. Employees also have access to the Vitality Health and Headspace apps.

We work with Connect physiotherapy, and through the service our employees are able to access physiotherapy that would include support with post viral recovery.

Yorkshire Water is committed to supporting and retaining employees who are experiencing chronic health conditions and supporting those who are recovering from Covid-19.

Susan Gee is group occupational health and wellbeing manager at Yorkshire Water.