In addition to putting the basic safety considerations in place, workplaces should also proactively support their staff to be more physically resilient to COVID, particularly amongst those who are at greater risk of complications. This is critical to business performance as well as employee wellness, as high-risk staff who catch COVID are likely to to be off work for a long period of time, and their recovery can be slow.
To help identify those in need, there is now a much clearer picture of those who are at greatest risk, beyond simply age, ethnicity or gender, which all are impossible to change. Those who have pre-existing conditions (i.e. uncontrolled asthma, cardiovascular disease, compromised immunity) and those who have risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes (i.e. obesity and high blood pressure) are at greater risk. Knowing this, it is vital that any employees who have these risks receive the right information and support to help them increase their resilience through healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Weight management, the right nutrition and physical activity are particularly important for employees to reduce their risk of complications should they become infected. This can't just be a set of educational information - it also needs to take into account and support practical factors such as: 1) the availability of healthy food at work, 2) the availability of effective and appropriate behaviour change programmes that are suitable for the specific group of employees in need, and 3) allowing time for employees to dedicate to self improvement in conjunction with their work. This doesn't have to be an expensive process, it just needs to be fully thought through, and delivered in a way that is relevant and practical for your workforce’s specific needs.
We would love to hear about your experience of how you are supporting the resilience of higher risk employees. What do you see the major challenges being? Please get in touch or leave a comment.