Coronavirus resource spotlight: Virgin Pulse’s return to work service

Here’s a look at the health company’s tool for employers, which combines live health coaching, screening, monitoring, analytics and more.

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What it is: Virgin Pulse’s VP Passport

The new app, which can be configured to reflect employer-specific cultures, structures and protocols, leverages components of Virgin Pulse’s wellbeing platform in an effort to help organizations safely reopen their workplaces amid COVID-19. It combines live health coaching, screening, monitoring, survey and attestation tools, content, real-time reporting and analytics. Upon enrollment in VP Passport, users initiate a daily risk assessment workplace screener that allows them to self-report risk and exposure by answering a series of screening, contact and health-related questions and undertaking COVID-19 symptom checking.

The app will be offered on a monthly or annual per-participant subscription plan. More information can be found on the company’s website.

Related: Strategies for navigating work during the pandemic

Why it’s helpful: A number of vendors are launching COVID testing tools and other products. But Virgin Pulse claims VP Passport is different from other symptom-checking tools and apps because it can be “configured to segment and support populations according to different parameters such as location, employee type, job function and return- to-workplace phases.” This flexibility will, for example, allow organizations to support office personnel, retail workers and field service employees, as well as vendors and contractors, according to rules and timetables specific to their job type.

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Organizations have access to back-end reporting and analytics functions that “allow HR, safety and wellness leaders to manage and take action on things like hot patterns of infection and visibility to cohorts that might be showing patterns,” says Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne. “Because the reporting and analytics are actionable, employers can be proactive with safety efforts.”

Other insights: With many cities and states relaxing stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, employers are increasingly focused on preparing for the return of employees to a workplace that will be markedly changed from before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Osborne says employers have a responsibility to make that return as safe as possible. “Employers, especially in the U.S., had already been largely responsible for the health and wellbeing of their employees. In a post-COVID-19 world, that responsibility will be even greater with the added burden and responsibility of ensuring public health and safety,” he says.

Returning to the workplace comes with many risks and concerns: Most employees say they feel uneasy and scared to return to work, and an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that one in four workers is at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19 if infected. Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers and the lack of a vaccine complicate all this even further.

Related: Employees worried about being exposed to COVID-19 at work

“Employers are navigating an array of challenges as they implement measures to keep employees as safe as possible,” Osborne says. “Employees and employers both have a role to play in safely reopening workplaces. Employers must provide tools that help employees gauge whether they are safe and healthy to return to the workplace. And in order to be effective, employees must agree to use those tools and hold themselves accountable for creating a safe work environment.”

For more free benefits resources, check out this list from HRE.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.