Health Advice



Mayo Clinic expert shares tips for navigating a return to work with long COVID

Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Symptoms are only half of the picture when it comes to long COVID, also known as post-COVID syndrome. The other half is how long COVID affects a person's ability to live their lives. Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic's COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program, offers tips for navigating the return to work during recovery.

"It can be hard to go back to work after any medical condition, and this is especially true for long COVID," says Dr. Vanichkachorn, a physician in Mayo's Division of Public Health, Infectious Diseases, and Occupational Medicine. Among the steps that can help, Dr. Vanichkachorn says:


It will be hard for your employer to offer support if they do not know how to help. Clear communication with your employer and medical team will maximize your chances of successfully returning to work. How can you communicate effectively?

1. Make sure your employer receives regular work recommendations from your medical team. Dr. Vanichkachorn suggests providing updates every two to four weeks.

2. When meeting with your medical team to create work recommendations, be an active participant. After all, you know your work best.


3. Talk to your employer regularly. “I know it can be difficult to have these kinds of discussions. As hard as this may be, keeping them in the dark for weeks on end may only make the situation worse,” Dr. Vanichkachorn says.

4. Do not wait until scheduled appointments to adjust your work recommendations. If you are feeling better and ready to take on more work, let your medical team know. “The same is true if things are getting worse,” Dr. Vanichkachorn says. “Constant communication is key.”

Reshape work

"Many patients are worried about returning to work because they are unsure how they will do when faced with their usual, busy workload," Dr. Vanichkachorn says. "It can take a long time for a patient to feel ready to jump back in at 100%. That is why we recommend a gradual return to work."


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