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Long COVID and the Workforce: How It Impacts Independent Contractors

Sick of hearing about the pandemic? You aren’t alone. But imagine instead, more than a year after COVID peaked in the United States, still being sick because of the pandemic. Long COVID isn’t a myth or a triviality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the condition, which affects people who have previously been infected with the COVID virus, can include symptoms such as severe fatigue, respiratory issues, brain fog, depression and anxiety, and may linger for months or years. And beyond the human toll, research suggests Long COVID and the workforce is costing business, too — particularly the independent contractor market.

A recent Brookings Institute report found that about 16 million working-age (18-65) Americans currently have Long COVID, and among them as many as 4 million are out of work because of the condition. That’s an enormous drag on the job economy – roughly the equivalent of a third of the nation’s current labor shortage. No specifics were offered as part of the report, but undoubtedly a significant number of those absences represent the independent contractor market. With no clear end to the effects of Long COVID in sight, what other implications might the condition have for the contractor market?

More Options and Flexibility

For those coping with the physical effects of Long COVID, work may be the furthest thing from their minds. But for those whose symptoms are somewhat milder, or for those who feel they have no choice but to grind through them in order to pay the bills, there may be some comfort in knowing that work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair.

Employers struggling to overcome the labor shortage, forced to think out of the box, are increasingly looking to nontraditional roles and employees to bridge the gap. Flex work, remote roles, part-time hours, work-as-needed – any of these opportunities may be available to a contractor. And when it isn’t specifically cited in a job listing, just ask. You might be surprised by what you hear back from an employer.

Today, there are more opportunities than ever to work remotely, part-time, and on shorter contracts – all of which could make the difference between a Long COVID sufferer earning enough to get by or earning nothing at all. Thousands of these jobs are listed on the PeopleCaddie platform, allowing contractors in our network the flexibility to avoid a commute, work comfortably in their own homes, and select positions and projects that suit their individual situations best.

Health Benefits When They’re Needed Most

In addition to opening doors financially, PeopleCaddie can help offer peace of mind – especially to those still in need of ongoing medical care. Many retirees have supplemental health insurance plans, but that still leaves a vast majority of those estimated 4 million out-of-work Long COVID sufferers without coverage – at a time when they likely need access to medical care more than ever.

Every PeopleCaddie contractor who signs on to the platform as a W2 employee has the opportunity to join our health insurance plan. It’s a perk that all our contractors find valuable, whether they are pushing through a chronic illness, have a family, or are just looking out for their well-being. For single parents, individuals caring for an elderly family member, Long COVID sufferers and any others facing special circumstances, PeopleCaddie provides more flexibility to earn and ensure your health.

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