myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: July 15, 2020

The Be in the Know 2020-2021 Campaign Year is Here

Woman running in park

For nearly 10 years, Penn’s Be in the Know wellness campaign has allowed benefits-eligible faculty and staff to focus on personal health goals and strive to feel their best. The 2020-2021 campaign year will offer even more opportunities for you to improve your well-being and earn new and exciting rewards.

This year’s campaign will run from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

“I have been participating in the Be in the Know campaign for three years, and the initiative continues to get better each year,” says Elizabeth Main, Penn Sustainability. Main was a Be in the Know VIP in the 2019-2020 campaign year.

 “I appreciate the wide range in programming across the many dimensions of wellness. Even when employees had to transition to remote work, the program was able to adapt smoothly to offer meaningful virtual offerings like financial workshops and meditation sessions," she says.

This year’s campaign is filled with lots of new features. For starters, Penn welcomes Virgin Pulse as its new wellness partner. With Virgin Pulse, participants have access to a robust online platform where they can:

  • Explore new wellness programs, resources, and Bonus Actions.
  • Join wellness challenges with colleagues to build healthy habits together.
  • Receive personalized telephone coaching on various health topics.
  • Use Virgin Pulse’s mobile app for wellness on-the-go.
  • Quickly earn and redeem your rewards, with exciting new options, and much more.

Unlike previous campaign years, Be in the Know 2020-2021 will not feature the 3 Steps to Success, but getting started and earning your rewards is as easy at 1-2-3. By participating in qualifying campaign activities, you can earn up to $300 in Pulse Cash rewards.

Getting Started

Each year Be in the Know is a fresh opportunity to learn more about your overall well-being while earning rewards. But before you start racking up rewards, you must first sign up for your Virgin Pulse account. Starting early July, benefits-eligible staff and faculty will receive an enrollment email from Penn Healthy You with instructions for getting started. You can also access the platform by visiting

After you sign up, accept the terms and conditions and choose your email preferences to get the latest tips and information.

You can also connect a fitness tracker to get credit for your steps, active minutes, and sleep. Virgin Pulse syncs with many devices and apps such as Max Buzz, Apple Watch, and Fitbit.

Get Ready to Earn Your Rewards

This year’s campaign has an enhanced rewards structure in which you can earn points for an equal amount of Pulse Cash. For example, if you earn 50 points for completing qualifying campaign activities, you will earn $50 in Pulse Cash that you can redeem for the rewards of your choice directly on the Virgin Pulse platform. Reward options include a variety of retail and VISA gift cards, donating to a charity, or purchasing wellness items (including fitness trackers) in the Virgin Pulse Rewards Store.*

Unlike in previous years, you do not have the option to receive cash in your paycheck or credit at Penn’s Campus Recreation. VISA gift cards earned through Be in the Know can be used at Penn’s Campus Recreation toward the purchase of recreational memberships and services.

To begin earning up to $300 in Pulse Cash, complete the following qualifying campaign activities:

  • Virgin Pulse’s Health Check. The Health Check is an online health assessment administered through the Virgin Pulse platform. It is a brief online questionnaire to gain a broader view of your overall health and well-being. Based on your Health Check responses, the platform will begin providing you with relevant wellness information and programs.

    For this campaign year, the Health Check is the only required activity you must complete to receive your earned rewards.

    Complete the Health Check to earn your first 50 points and $50 in Pulse Cash rewards.

    You can earn up to an additional $250 in Pulse Cash for any combination of Be in the Know 2020-2021 activities, including a biometric screening and/or Bonus Actions.

    You can retake the Health Check additional times; however, you will only earn the associated Be in the Know points and Pulse Cash once between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

    To complete the Health Check, visit the Virgin Pulse platform. The deadline to complete the Health Check is June 30, 2021.

  • Biometric Screening. A biometric screening provides four key indicators of your health status, including blood pressure, total and HDL cholesterol levels, and blood sugar/glucose. Optionally, you can choose to obtain LDL cholesterol and triglycerides results.

    Due to the impact of COVID-19, on-campus group activities will be limited and only offered when deemed safe and space is available. As a result, biometric screenings will not be a required activity to receive any rewards for this upcoming year. However, it remains a priority and awarded activity. Please note that completing a biometric screening will still be required to become a Be in the Know VIP.

    You can earn 50 points and $50 in Pulse Cash rewards if you complete a biometric screening during the qualifying time period. 

    You always have the option to submit results obtained by your healthcare provider or an approved screening location between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. To earn credit, submit a Biometric Screening Consent Form, along with a copy of your results, to AREUFIT Health Services, Inc., using the directions provided on the form.
  • Bonus Actions: These are health-related activities and opportunities to earn additional rewards. Be in the Know continues to offer a variety of activities at home, on campus, and online through Virgin Pulse. Choose any number of Bonus Actions to earn various amounts of points and Pulse Cash rewards.

    For certain Bonus Actions, you can receive your points by submitting an Attestation Form. These forms replace the Proof of Bonus Action Forms and allow participants to upload completion credit for applicable Bonus Actions right on the Virgin Pulse platform, on the Rewards page. Once you submit an Attestation Form and any additional documentation if necessary, Virgin Pulse will process your information and your point totals will then be reflected on the Virgin Pulse Rewards page. For a complete list of Bonus Actions and which require an Attestation Form, check the table on the Be in the Know Bonus Actions webpage.

A biometric screening and Bonus Actions may be completed at any time during the 2020-2021 Be in the Know campaign year. However, for this campaign year, rewards for these activities will not be received until you first complete the Virgin Pulse Health Check.

Go for VIP Status

If you earn at least 450 total campaign points this year and complete a biometric screening, you’ll be named a Be in the Know VIP (Very Impressive Participant) and receive special recognition on top of the maximum cash incentives.

 “Be in the Know encourages us to be healthy, teaches valuable information, allows us to meet new coworkers, and provides incentives and special recognition with the VIP Program,” says Martin Das, Perelman School of Medicine, Biostatistics. Das was a Be in the Know VIP during the 2019-2020 campaign year.

“Personally, encouraging me to take extra steps every day has been helpful. I’ve reached as many as 25,000 steps in a day, which didn’t seem possible before Be in the Know,” he says.

Check the Be in the Know webpage at for complete program details.

*All Be in the Know rewards are subject to applicable payroll taxes. Virgin Pulse will provide tax information to Penn payroll on a periodic basis.

Returning to Work on Campus? We’ve Got You Covered

Ben wearing mask for COVID-19 With the Penn community’s wellbeing foremost in mind, the University is moving into Phase 2 of returning staff to campus. While most staff members will continue working remotely for now, on-site work is increasing to support vital research and prepare for the fall term. To keep you informed about health and safety guidelines during this gradual transition, the University’s Recovery Planning Group Workforce Operations Committee (WOC) has published the COVID-19 Return to Campus Guide for Penn Faculty and Staff. The guide is available online at

Look for your copy of the guide in your home mailbox next week. Enclosed with your guide is a 100% cotton 2-ply Penn face covering as a reminder all faculty and staff to take necessary precautions when we are asked to work on-site.

Under the policies and protocols in the Return to Campus Guide, all employees entering University buildings are required to:

  • Do daily symptom self-checks

    Every day before reporting to campus, faculty and staff are expected to conduct symptom monitoring. Do not come to campus if you have any COVID-19 symptoms listed in the

  • Wash hands and wipe down work areas
    One of the most powerful ways to stop coronaviruses is washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.

    Before starting work and before you leave any room where you have been working, wipe down your work areas with the disinfectant provided by your school or center.

  • Maintain physical distancing
    Always stay at least 6 feet from other people. Do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid gatherings, even when wearing face coverings. Since people can spread the virus even if they have no symptoms, it is important to stay away from others whenever possible.
  • Wear a face covering
    Face coverings should be worn by all Penn faculty and staff on campus. They should be removed only for eating and if working alone in a closed office. Face coverings are intended to limit the risk of exposing a coworker to undetected illnesses or infections, including COVID-19.

Together, these actions can protect you, your loved ones, and the whole community on campus and at home.

You’ll find additional requirements and recommendations in the Return to Work Guide, such as training links, staggered scheduling, travel advisories, time away from work policies, and support resources.

The online Return to Campus Guide will be updated as new information becomes available and the public health situation evolves. The WOC continues to consult with Penn Wellness, school and center representatives, and peer institutions to ensure these guidelines are based on the latest workplace safety and public health best practices, as well as city, state, and CDC orders and recommendations.

Please do not return to campus unless your supervisor directs you to do so.

Your school or center leaders will follow Penn’s guidelines as they determine which work must be conducted on campus and which can continue to be done remotely. If you’re scheduled to return to campus, your manager may give you specific directions for symptom checking, hygiene, physical distancing, and personal protective equipment use in your building and department.

For general information, visit the Faculty & Staff section of the Fall Semester Planning website.

5 Home Ergonomics Tips

Man smiling in front of home office setup

Many staff members will continue working remotely through the fall. Whether you already had a dedicated home office, or you’ve converted your kitchen table into a desk, adapting your workspace for long-term use is wise. A few small changes to your space and habits can make a big difference.

Making sure you have the right home workspace setup can improve your health, productivity, and comfort while you’re away from campus.

Here are five quick tips to make working from home more comfortable.

  • 20-20-20 Rule. To prevent eye strain try looking 20 feet away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
  • Adjust monitor height. Avoid twisting or craning your neck while working. Set your screen at about eye level with an adjustable stand, laptop stand, or a stack of books.
  • Get the seating right. Choose a comfortable chair with full back support. Don’t sit on a stool or couch. Use an additional seat cushion for extra comfort or height.
  • Change position often. You shouldn’t sit for more than 2 hours at a time. Stand for phone calls, breaks, and other non-computer tasks.
  • The right environment. Manage external distractions by decluttering your workspace. Noise cancelling headphones or soft ambient sound in the background can help keep you focused.

For more home office ergonomics download the full guide provided by Penn EHRS.

Healthy Meals: Ultimate BBQ Chicken

Ultimate BBQ chicken with corn and coleslaw. This juicy, smoky barbeque recipe gives boneless chicken breasts unbelievably flavor. Seasoned with paprika, cumin, and chili powder, lean cuts of chicken are topped off with a savory homemade BBQ sauce for the perfect finish. Serve with coleslaw and grilled corn for a hearty, well-rounded meal..

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Did You Know: SHOP PENN Updates

From the yellow phase to the green phase, visit the SHOP PENN website data-sf-ec-immutable=""> data-sf-ec-immutable=""> for updates on campus stores and eateries. While some retailers will remain closed or keep modified hours to maintain public health and safety, you can still support these local businesses. Enjoy take-out or delivery, connect with them by phone, shop online, and order gift cards to use in the days ahead.



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