myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: August 19, 2020

Making Good Use of Time and Energy

Graphic of businesswoman multitasking

Have you ever wished you had extra hours in a day so that you could do more? While you can’t put more time in a day, you can make the most of the time you have and spend it wisely. By using some practical strategies for better time and energy management you can meet your most valued goals without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Learn how at Penn’s virtual workshop, Time and Energy Management: Ideas for Sustainable Life Balance, on September 9 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“Time is finite, energy is not. If we can understand what gives us purpose and replenishes our energy, we can better accomplish the things that we recognize deplete our energy such as tending to families while working full-time, or worse, dealing with illness or trauma,” says Amma Napier, Senior Consultant for Training and Development, Talent Development.

Napier, the workshop’s facilitator, adds that achieving a life balance that allows you to feel accomplished in your professional and personal lives is critical to your well-being, particularly now as we navigate life in an uncertain and new context. 

“It is especially important during this stressful time of a global pandemic, and a national fight for racial justice, that we pay attention to our own, personal guiding values that help illuminate what is sustainable in our delicately balanced lives,” says Napier, also workshop facilitator.

In this workshop, Napier will discuss the following skills in detail: 

  • Time management and prioritization. By exercising control over the amount of time you spend on activities and arranging tasks in order of importance, you can increase your effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.

  • Workflow systems and the 1-3-5 to-do list rule. What process or method do you use to accomplish tasks? The 1-3-5 rule allows you to create a list that includes one big activity, three medium-sized activities, and five small activities so that you can optimize your efforts. 

  • Energy management and how it relates to work-life balance. Energy is the ability to do work or perform a task. We must examine how best to spend our energy and how to renew it once it has been depleted.

During this interactive workshop participants will engage in a few activities, including completing a personal energy assessment to help identify the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual things that provide energy or cause us to be drained.

Register today for Time and Energy Management: Ideas for Sustainable Life Balance and find tools and strategies to optimize your efforts.

For more information about Penn’s Talent Development programs, visit

5 Weeks to a More Resilient You

Graphic of brain working out in Penn Colors

Have you been feeling overwhelmed and worn down from the pandemic? Do you find it becoming more difficult to stay motivated during this unprecedented time? If so, reclaim your energy and find renewed encouragement by attending the virtual 5-week Resilience Workshop. The workshop sessions will be held 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday from September 30 to October 28.  Participants commit to attending all five sessions.

Stella Grizont, positive psychology expert, executive coach, and workshop facilitator, says participants will learn how to:

●      Maintain a healthy, positive, and resilient outlook by shaping your mindset

●      Take charge of your own growth and success

●      Avoid passive-aggression or bottling up emotions

●      Express what you want in a peaceful way that gets results

“The program teaches people how to manage their minds and moods so they can feel more in control, more positive, and hopeful even in uncertain time,” says Grizont, a graduate of Penn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program.

“Having a sense of control is one of the drivers for resilience,” she adds.

Each Wednesday, Grizont will discuss one of the 5 “inner skills” necessary for developing resilience with each module building on the previous week:



September 30

Resilience: How to Master Your Mind and Mood

October 7

Clarity: How to Create a Vision for Success and Fulfillment

October 14

Purpose: How to Make Conscious Decisions to Live Your Values Everyday

October 21

Boundaries: How to Manage Your Time and Relationships so You Can Thrive and Prevent Burnout

October 28

Courage: How to Master Difficult Conversations and Ask for What You Want


Grizont says, “No matter what is happening or who you’re dealing with, there are still ways to have a sense of power and control in your career or in your life.”

Register now for the 5-week Resilience Workshop.

For more virtual workshops, visit the Events and Registration webpage.

Learn the Virgin Pulse Wellness Platform in a Live Demonstration

Black woman on laptop smiling

The Be in the Know 2020-2021 campaign year is in full swing. You can earn up to $300 in rewards this year by completing qualifying healthy activities at home, online, and at work when possible. Penn wants faculty and staff to get the most out of the campaign year, so the Penn Healthy You team is providing access to a live demonstration of the new Virgin Pulse wellness platform. Knowing how to navigate the platform will help you reach your wellness goals, earn exciting new rewards, and have fun with your colleagues.

The live workshop will be held on August 25 at 12 p.m. EST. Advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining and a link to the event.

During the demonstration, Virgin Pulse Client Success Manager Emma Doyle will walk participants through many aspects of the platform, showing you how to: 

  • Enroll and set up your Virgin Pulse account, including the mobile app

  • Create your user profile, plus set your topics and interests

  • Review the dashboard page, including daily cards and support options when you need assistance

  • Explore Virgin Pulse programs, including challenges, tracking options, Journeys, and more

  • Review Be in the Know 2020-2021 campaign activities, including the Health Check and all Bonus Actions

  • Fill out Attestation Forms to get credit for certain completed Bonus Actions

  • Create a personal challenge and invite players to join

  • Connect devices and apps that will sync to the platform

There will also be a Q&A section at the end of the demonstration in which participants can submit questions via the chat feature.

If you are not able to make the August 25 event, additional demonstrations will be held on a monthly basis from September through December 2020.

For more information about the Be in the Know 2020-2021 campaign year, visit

Real-World Tips from Your Remote Working Colleagues

Cute cat sitting on laptop.

In the July 22 issue of myHR, we asked readers to share their own time-tested methods to stay productive and relaxed while working from home. Thanks to everyone who responded to the call. Here are seven selected tips that we received from staff members across campus.

Staying Connected with Colleagues

“Our office has done things to help keep our team connected including virtual retreats featuring some interactive games/activities and a virtual baby shower, which also had multiple interactive (and completely personalized) games. We’ve recently created an internal wellness group to look into other ongoing ways to help employees manage stress, stay connected and combat staff burnout.”

– Dr. Claire Klieger, Senior Associate Director, Career Services

Organizing Kids’ Meals and Online Activities

“One example I have is making lunch the night before for our family, just as we would if we were all going to school/work outside of our house. Another is creating a spreadsheet to manage our Zoom links for the kids’ activities.”

– Karen Kille, Senior Work-Life Consultant, Division of Human Resources

Supervising Work-Study Students from Afar

“Make sure you schedule opportunities to connect with your student workers on a personal level. Students appreciate the passing conversations that happen in the workplace just as much as you do—make time to engage them and keep them connected to your work and your virtual office culture.

Be creative about tasks that students can do virtually. What have you been wanting to work on for a long time but have never had time to initiate? Penn students are brilliant—give them some direction and guidelines, and see what they’re able to create. You’ll be surprised.”

Be flexible when you can. These are unusual times for all of us, but especially for students, who have experienced significant disruption. Your college experience is not the same as what they are experiencing today!”

– Paul Richard, Director of Communications, Division of Finance

Expanding Your Perspective

You are a traveler in both space and time. Set up and balance your “work/home spaces” and your “on/off times” in ways that work best for you (and these choices may change, as events warrant).

Embrace the flexibility. Avoid feeling “locked in” to a specific routine if you need to change it for one day, or a week, or on an ongoing basis (until the next time you need to change something). Make sure to let your colleagues know if you will be away unexpectedly, so no one is left in the lurch with any shared workloads.

When you are off you are off. Try to mentally leave the “office” at the “office” when you are done for the day (even though the “office” is now also “home”).

Explore alternative opportunities. check with your boss to see if there are interesting projects (perhaps outside of your normal job description) that are available for you. As an example, staff at the Penn Libraries worked on a crowdsourced project, transcribing Marian Anderson’s diaries and letters.

– Lapis David Cohen, Library Specialist, Resource Sharing (Penn Libraries)

Developing Skills through Penn’s LinkedIn Learning

“At the beginning of the shutdown I sought resources to help me be as productive and efficient as possible in my new working environment: my house! One of those resources was Penn’s LinkedIn Learning account, where I found a course called Time Management: Working From Home. The quick-paced video was only a little over an hour and covered topics such as creating a comfortable and functional work space, managing a schedule, dealing with distractions and learning new technologies. I especially liked the exercise that helped me identify when in the week I could be the most productive with the fewest interruptions so that I could capitalize on those periods of time. This resource definitely helped me to adjust very quickly to our ‘new normal’ and I think it would be helpful to anyone looking for basic tips for working from home.”

 – Anne Dickinson, Associate Director, Career Services

Positioning Yourself for Success and Health

“Have both standing and seated ergonomically correct options if possible. This was the biggest hurdle for me in the pandemic. The first few weeks of quarantine were quite uncomfortable until I took the time to customize my work environments.”

– Steven Minicola, Director, Web Strategy & Visual Communication, University Communications

Controlling Cats

“Cats seem compelled to sit or climb on whatever work surface you’re using, from computer keyboards to papers. Sometimes, locking them in another room is not an option unless you have earplugs or headphones to block the meowing. Here are the most effective ways I’ve found for preventing my cat from accidently sending emails and Zoom bombing.

  • Distract the cat with a battery-operated hunting toy.

  • Wipe essential orange oil on surfaces to repel kitty. I love the scent, but my cat does not.

  • Find a bird or aquarium videos on YouTube if the wildlife action outside your window isn’t exciting enough for your cat.

Of course, your cat may vary.”

– Stephanie Brown, Senior HR Communications Specialist, Division of Human Resources

For additional tips and remote work resources, download these tips from Health Advocate and visit Penn’s Remote Work Guidelines page.

Healthy Meals: Steak and Tabbouleh Salad

Steak and tabbouleh salad

This steak and tabbouleh salad is packed with fiber, protein, and delicious flavor. Cucumber, parsley, and baby arugula are tossed with fiber-rich bulgur and olive oil. Top with tender cooked marinated steak for a filling meal.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know: Resources for Childcare During COVID-19

Meeting your childcare needs during a pandemic can be stressful. Penn provides programs for you to access the care that you need. Use to find in-home and virtual caregivers, tutors, and babysitters. Through the personal assisted search you can locate a center to support your child’s remote learning needs or a childcare center for pre-school age children. Also arrange childcare through Penn’s subsidized Backup Care Program.



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