“The doctor’s prediction was right. If her patient, a city employee, had to return to in-person work, the doctor cautioned, the symptoms plaguing her since she first contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 would only worsen,” Samantha Maldonado writes for The City, the New York City hyperlocal. “Among them: pain, headaches, dizziness, extreme fatigue and memory issues. She would wind up stuck in bed, unable to get up at all. The 40-year-old patient, who spoke to THE CITY on condition of anonymity, has worked a desk job at a city agency for nearly a decade. In spite of her prolonged symptoms, she managed to plow through during much of the pandemic, thanks to remote work. But Mayor Bill de Blasio’s order for in-office work threatened that —- initially, with one day a week in person starting in May, eventually expanding to all five days in September. Meanwhile, city employee requests to work remotely are exploding. In a note accompanying the worker’s request to telework, the doctor specified she needed to work from home through the end of the year ‘in order to be functional’ as she battles so-called Long Covid. Her supervisor was on board.But the agency said it could not approve a fully remote arrangement because ’the mayor has indicated that 100% telework is no longer an option,’ according to documents reviewed by THE CITY. The worker fought back for more than a month, and the agency arranged for her to report to a job site closer to her home to cut down on commuting time. But because the employee’s direct colleagues aren’t working in the same location as her, she’s conducting meetings through video. ‘I’m tired, exhausted, drained, sick. It’s extremely hard to try to continue having a life.’ And her doctor’s warning proved true: She’s alternately spent her weekdays at work and then in bed, unable to get up.” Samantha Maldonado, ‘Long COVID’ Workers in NYC Find Remote Chances for Accommodations,” THE CITY.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder