Long COVID affects workplace productivity in Malaysia

Businesses in Malaysia have been urged to do more to support employees who continue to suffer from the disease.
By: | October 5, 2022

About 10% to 15% of those who have contracted COVID-19 go on to experience the symptoms long after they have been given the “all clear”.

Employees infected with COVID-19 might experience new, returning, or ongoing symptoms for weeks or even months after recovering from the initial infection, potentially leading to a loss in productivity and increased medical expenses for their employers, according to Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai, President of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

More than a third of Long COVID sufferers reported that they had to take leave or work fewer hours in the day. For businesses, it brings forth additional challenges, from added costs to delays in meeting targets. 

William Ng, Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta), noted that workers were already facing challenges in making the transition from working at home back to working at the office, and urged SMEs to start investing in their employees’ physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

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“We must understand the concerns that our employees have and the challenges they face so we can provide the necessary support for those who are struggling with Long COVID,” he explained, reported FMT. For instance, one such solution he suggested was to implement flexible work arrangements for roles that did not require physical presence at the workplace.

“However, it takes two to make this work. If employers allow flexible work arrangements, employees must also agree to deliver on agreed performance standards,” Ng added.